A chaotic Labor Day weekend is on the cards for many as 95 million Americans are expected to be traveling over the vacation period – which looks set to be riddled with traffic delays.
More than 20 million passengers are expected to fly out of state from Saturday to Monday – an 11 percent increase on last year – according to travel booking app Hopper, following on from a boom in international travel in recent months.
Meanwhile, millions more Americans are taking to the roads for shorter getaways at nearby beaches, theme parks, and woodland retreats to make the most of the last days of summer.
David Pekoske, from the Transport Security Administration, said passenger volumes this year are expected to be even greater than last year – which already exceeded 2019 levels.
Last year’s Labor Day weekend was marred by mass cancelations. This year’s vacation could be similar, with 2,522 arrivals and departures from the United States delayed on Friday already, according to tracking website Flight Aware.
‘We anticipate this Labor Day holiday weekend will be busy, with passenger volumes nearly 11 percent higher than last year-volumes that already exceeded 2019 Labor Day holiday travel volumes,’ TSA’s Pekoske said in a statement.
This comes after a giant dust cloud in Arizona caused mass power outages and grounded flights on Thursday, particularly around Maricopa County, the state’s most populous area.
Meanwhile, further east, Hurricane Idalia wrecked havoc in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas, upending travel plans for thousands.
According to flight-tracking website Flightaware.com, more than 1,500 flights were delayed and 60 were canceled on Friday as the storm slammed into the Big Bend region.
Despite this, nearly 400,000 passengers were scheduled to depart from airports in the direct path of Idalia on Thursday and Friday, according to Hopper.
Atlanta, GA, is expected to be the busiest airport, with 1, 541, 254 people due to depart over the Labor Day vacation.
Some 1,024,839 passengers will take off from Denver, CO, which will be the second-busiest airport over the long weekend.
Dallas Fort-Worth, TX, comes in third with 983,089 people leaving the state over the Labor Day period, with Los Angeles, CA, fourth at 927,031 and Chicago, IL, fifth with 816,943.
As vacationers prepare to fly out this weekend, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg warned passengers to ‘respect flight crews’ working over the Labor Day period.