June 13, 2024

Brighton Journal

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Memorial Day 2024: Travelers see flight delays and higher prices

Memorial Day 2024: Travelers see flight delays and higher prices

Travelers faced large crowds and flight delays on Friday, which was expected to be the busiest day in the world Memorial Day weekend.

More than 6,000 U.S. flights were delayed by early evening on the East Coast, continuing a trend that has tested travelers’ patience all week. Cancellations were more modest, at just over 200, according to tracking data from FlightAware.

There were delays on highways as well.

Along the Florida Turnpike, Wallis Tenney said a traffic accident and road work slowed her trip to a ceremony commemorating African American history in the Florida Panhandle, the site where the first battle of the Seminole Wars took place in 1816.

“But we’re comfortable with it,” the Miami woman said during a stop in Port St. Lucie. “We left early, and our event is tomorrow. So hopefully — God willing, the creek doesn’t rise — we’ll be there in a long time.”

The Transportation Security Administration expects Friday to be the busiest day of the weekend for air travel, with nearly 3 million people expected to pass through. Airport checkpoints. The TSA screened just under 2.9 million people on Thursday, and is about 11,000 away from breaking the record set on the Sunday after Thanksgiving last year.

Pasha Pedlopnyak waits for a domestic flight at Miami International Airport, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Miami. A record number of Americans are expected to travel during the 2024 Memorial Day weekend. (AP Photo/Lynn Sladky)

“Airports will be busier than we have seen in 20 years,” AAA spokeswoman Axa Diaz said.

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Highways are also likely to be congested as motorists exit the city and return home. AAA predicted it would be the busiest early summer weekend in nearly 20 years, with 43.8 million people expected to walk at least 50 miles from home between Thursday and Monday — 38 million of them in cars.

The annual expression of wanderlust that accompanies the beginning of summer Travel season It’s happening at a time when Americans are telling pollsters They are worried About the economy and the direction of the country.

“Memorial Day is the weekend. I get to spend time with family and friends, so I’d say that’s priceless, right? Anything to hang out with family and friends,” Nene Efebo said during a two-hour wait for a delayed flight at Denver International Airport.

Victoria Ramos Valdes of Miami was on a driving vacation with her husband, Blake, and their children, ages 3 and 4 months.

“We said, ‘Hey, we’ll go with a budget of $300, and the hotel costs about $150,'” she said, “but it has a water slide that provides a lot of entertainment.” “We are taking a nice family trip and doing our best to have the best Memorial Day weekend possible.”

Some travelers reported Exposure to sticker shock When they booked their flights. Upon arriving at Philadelphia International Airport, Ciara Marsh said the city “wasn’t our original destination, but we chose here because it was cheaper.”

At Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, Larissa Latimer, of New Lenox, Illinois, said her airfare was reasonable, but other expenses for traveling to New Orleans were not.

Motorists travel along Interstate 24 near the Interstate 40 interchange on Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. A record number of Americans are expected to hit the sidewalk during the 2024 Memorial Day weekend. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

Motorists travel along Interstate 24 near the Interstate 40 interchange on Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. A record number of Americans are expected to hit the sidewalk during the 2024 Memorial Day weekend. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

“I just have to make accommodations,” she said. “Car rentals are gone… This year, hotel accommodations have been unusually very expensive.”

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Cathy Larco, of Fort Myers, Florida, used frequent flyer miles — and some flexible scheduling — to pay for her flight to Chicago.

“I’m really conscious of looking at the cost of the whole trip. We’re going to stay a little further away than we normally do” to get a lower hotel price, she said. “We’re also going to come back a day later, because we can get cheaper miles.”

This weekend’s busy highway traffic and airports could be a sample of what’s to come for several more weeks. American airlines We expect it to carry Record number of passengers this summer. Their trade group estimates that 271 million passengers will travel by air between June 1 and August 31, breaking the record of 255 million. last summer.

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This story was previously updated to correct spelling in Fort Myers, Florida.

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Cody Jackson in Port St. Lucie, Florida, Melissa Perez Winder in Chicago, and Shelley Adler in Washington contributed to this report.