More than 584,000 Kansans are expected to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. AAA Kansas said that will be an increase of two percent compared to last year.
AAA said 89 percent of the holiday travelers, about 523,000, will be on the roads and 32,000 Kansans will be traveling by air. Highway travel will be up slightly from a year ago and air travel will be up six percent.
INRIX, a provider of transportation data and insights, expects Wednesday, November 22, to be the busiest day on the roads during the Thanksgiving holiday travel period, with average travel times as high as 80% over normal in some metro areas. INRIX recommends leaving in the morning or after 6 p.m. to avoid the heaviest holiday congestion. Highways will also be crowded the Sunday after Thanksgiving, as many travelers return home.
In Wichita, Director of Airports Jesse Romo said the busiest days for Eisenhower National Airport will be November 21st and November 25th. He said there will be around 35 departures and 3,600 seats just for those two days. He said the airlines will be adding flights and seating for the Thanksgiving through Christmas holiday period. The busiest time of day will be between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m. with 11 departures and over 1,100 seats. A typical day in November will have about 3,000 seats, an increase of about ten percent over last year.
People who are traveling by air are urged to get to the airport at least two hours before their flight to allow time for parking and security screening. The Transportation Security Administration is urging travelers to be aware of the items they can and cannot have in their carry-on luggage. Liquids are limited to 3.4 ounces for containers that are packed in carry-on bags. More information is available at the web site TSA.gov and people are also urged to check with their airline for information on carry-on items, flight delays and other issues. Information is also available on the site flywichita.com
AAA expects 55.4 million travelers will be going 50 miles or more from home over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, and that’s an increase of 2.3 percent over last year. It’s the third highest Thanksgiving forecast since AAA began tracking holiday travel in 2000. The top two travel years were 2005 and 2019. It’s projected that 49.1 million people will be traveling on the roads, and 4.7 million people will travel by air.
Gasoline prices are down significantly from a year ago, and AAA said that’s a factor in the forecast for more highway travel this year. Kansas gas prices are averaging about 30 cents lower than last year.