AAA: 109 million will travel for holidays this year, air travel up 184%

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — AAA estimates 109 million people will travel for Christmas and New Years this year.

That’s close to pre-pandemic levels about 92% of 2019 numbers.

According to AAA, air travel is up 184% from last year.

Public relations director Elizabeth Carey said there are still some seats available for last minute fliers but at a high price.

“People did start to scoop them up earlier and that’s what we usually do see there’s a higher demand at holiday time so that means you have to plan in advance to get the best price,” she said.

NFTA director of aviation William Vanecek said there are things travelers can do to make the airport experience smoother.

“I think the biggest thing we can do to help TSA do their job effectively is have you get to the airport within plenty of time, we have a lot more queuing space available at the checkpoint now,” he said.

Travelers are also encouraged to check the TSA website or app ahead of time to confirm what they can or can’t bring on the plane.

Masks are required in all areas of the airport and on the planes.

Carey said domestic travel is popular right now due to the negative test requirement to return to the U.S. from many international destinations.

But that’s not stopping everyone including George Conboy who plans to fly to Italy for Christmas.

He’ll need to get COVID tested 72 hours beforehand and show proof of vaccination. To return, he’ll need a test 24 hours before leaving Italy.

“We were there as recently as October and managed to find a pharmacy in a nearby town that will take the test and give you the results on the spot what we’ve learned is that when you’re overseas, especially if there’s a language barrier, get your results on a piece of paper so if need be you can show the airlines,” Conboy said.

With all that being said, AAA said the majority of holiday travelers will drive. It’s cheaper, especially for large families, and it allows for flexibility.

Kayla Green is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of her work here.

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