US airlines are expecting record breaking travel demand this year for Thanksgiving, with multiple executives across many airline companies gearing up to prepare for the influx in travel.
US airlines are prepared and ready to take on what will likely be a record breaking year for holiday travel this Thanksgiving.
The holiday season is always a busy time for airlines, especially this year where we’re seeing travel in general return to pre-pandemic levels. Many airlines have been implementing discounted fares and other deals within the past few years to help increase demand and spending, especially considering airlines have also been experiencing high labor and fuel costs.
Between November 17th and November 28th, the Transportation Security Administration is expecting to screen 30 million passengers, which would be the most ever for this time of year. According to a travel forecast from TSA Administrator David Pekoske, the Sunday after Thanksgiving is expected to be the busiest day of the week with 2.9 million passengers.
“We are ready for the anticipated volumes and are working closely with our airline and airport partners to make sure we are prepared for this busy holiday travel season.”
US airlines are still coping with staffing and air traffic controller shortages, meaning this holiday season will be a real test for the infrastructure within these facilities. Around Christmas last year, major cities throughout the US experienced mass flight cancellations and delays due to snowstorms, so carriers have taken the year to prepare for any and all potential delays.
For example, last year Southwest Airlines canceled over 16,500 flights throughout the holiday season and into early 2023. In response, the airline has been preparing all year by investing in de-icing methods and improvement on technology that will make rescheduling easier when there’s a flight disruption.
“If your crew is on a three-day rotation and they don’t get out day 1, guess what, day 2, day 3 they’re not there. An airline always has to keep moving. An airline stops moving, and bad things happen,” Southwest Airlines Chief Operating Officer Andrew Watterson told reporters. United Airlines is also taking preparation measures for the coming holiday/winter season.
“We start winter readiness in the summer. We have some of our first meetings when thermometers are at their highest.”
United has also been making changes to their mobile app to make it easier for passengers to receive updates on their flights, and make it simpler for them to rebook their flights should there be a cancellation.
According to reports from CNBC, Delta Air Lines is predicting it alone will likely see between 6 and 6.5 million passengers from, now until November 28th, “compared with 5.7 million last year and 6.25 million in 2019.”
“United expects to fly 5.9 million passengers from Nov. 17 to Nov. 29, up 13% from last year and 5% more than 2019, and American Airlines expects to fly a record 7.8 million travelers from Nov. 16 to Nov. 28, up from 7 million last year and beating out 2019 by roughly 200,000 passengers,” according to CNBC.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at email@example.com.