(CNN) – So will you be at home for Christmas? It seems many people are saying to their families “you can make a plan for me.”
AAA estimates more than 109 million Americans will travel during the extended Christmas and New Year’s week — a number that’s close to the pre-pandemic record of 119 million travelers for Christmas 2019.
AAA predictions are from December 23 to January 2.
For the more than 100 million people AAA predicts will drive, gas prices are falling from highs reached around Thanksgiving. The national average fell to $3.30 on Tuesday, down from $3.41 a month ago.
AAA says airlines will carry 6.4 million passengers. That number more than tripled from last year when the pandemic slashed holiday travel dramatically.
Pekoske predicts December 23 and January 3 will be the busiest days of the winter break.
The Sunday and Monday after Christmas will see a “convergence of travelers returning home from Christmas tours and New Year’s holidays.”
United: Get ready for the rush
Travelers arrive at the United Airlines check-in area at Los Angeles International Airport on Wednesday, November 24, 2021.
Jae C. Hong / AP
United Airlines says it’s gearing up for holiday travel this month that’s even busier than the Thanksgiving rush, which set a pandemic-era record.
The airline said it expected to carry an average of 420,000 passengers a day, up from 400,000 a day over Thanksgiving. That’s about 8 million passengers during the holiday period, which United booked from December 16 to January 3.
The airline said it will run 200 more flights a day to handle the increased load.
United warn the Thursday before Christmas (December 23) will be its busiest day of the season.
Travel app Hopper also expects December 23 to be its busiest flight date, and it told CNN Travel in an email that the top domestic destinations its customers book are New York City, Orlando and Los Angeles.
Under close scrutiny of crises
Meanwhile, airlines are under close scrutiny from Washington after scheduling earlier this year left scores of travelers stranded.
The executives of the nation’s four largest carriers are expected to testify before a Senate committee on Wednesday about how they used their stakes worth more than $50 billion in federal aid. to maintain the jobs of airline employees.
The head of American Airlines is expected to tell lawmakers that the airline is “actively recruiting new employees” to prevent thousands of flight cancellations this fall.
American Airlines CEO Doug Parker wrote in testimony Monday filed with the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee on Monday: “Air travel demand is coming back strong.
“Like other airlines, we have experienced a number of operational challenges in recent months,” Parker said.
Should I stay or should I go?
The skating rink at Bryant Park in New York City is just one of many attractions in the city. Some people may still be asking if they should go on this seaon tour while still not sure.
Christopher Occhicone / Bloomberg / Getty Images
While many are expected to continue, others may ask: What about Omicron?
The new variant, designated a “variant of concern” during Thanksgiving travel, adds an extra layer of uncertainty as people prepare for trips in December and January.
If you’ve been vaccinated, there’s no need to change your vacation plans – even if Omicron is circulating in the United States, says Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Dr. Leana Wen, CNN Medical Analyst, says that whether or not to travel is a personal calculation.
“There’s a lot of unknowns, so I think it depends on each person’s tolerance for risk. There will be some people who agree with the unknowns and are generally healthy, fully vaccinated. enough and not too worried,” Wen said. emergency physician and professor of health policy and management at the Milken School of Public Health at George Washington University.
“But there are people who because of their own health situation or because of risk factors may feel differently.”