Sky Talk

Expect full planes, crowded roads as holiday travel season begins

Airports suggest that travelers arrive at least two hours ahead of their scheduled departure time during the holiday travel season.
Airports suggest that travelers arrive at least two hours ahead of their scheduled departure time during the holiday travel season. pmoseley@star-telegram.com

Planes will be full and the roads will be crowded this holiday season.

According to AAA, there will be over 103 million Americans traveling during the busy Christmas and New Year’s holidays. That’s 1.5 million more people than the industry travel group forecast last year.

“Rising incomes and continued low gas prices should make for a joyous holiday travel season,” said AAA chief executive Marshall Doney.

Most travelers will drive to their destination, about 93.6 million, as gas prices remain relatively low with a national average of $2.23 per gallon. However, that is 23 cents higher than on New Year’s Day 2016, AAA noted.

In Texas, more than 8.2 million are expected to travel, up about 0.2 percent. AAA-Texas said 7.6 million Texans will drive while 402,000 will fly during the holiday travel period, which is defined as Dec. 23 through Jan. 2.

For those traveling by plane, expect long security checkpoint lines at airports including Dallas Love Field and Dallas/Fort Worth Airport. Both airports suggest that travelers arrive at least two hours ahead of their scheduled departure to make sure they can get parked, checked in and through security in time.

At DFW, the airport is offering a parking promotion. Passengers who enter between Dec. 20 and Dec. 31 will receive a free day of terminal parking for every two days they park. Terminal parking costs $24 a day.

If passengers plan to travel with gifts in their carry-on luggage, the Transportation Security Administration advises that they should be unwrapped in case security officers need to check the gift during screening.

To help passengers make sure their gifts are wrapped before they get to their destination, Southwest Airlines has partnered with The Container Store to offer free gift wrapping on Thursday, Dec. 22, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 10 airports around the country, including Dallas Love Field.

Andrea Ahles: 817-390-7631, @Sky_Talk

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