Record travel expected Labor Day weekend despite Idalia impact

Record travel expected Labor Day weekend despite Idalia impact

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With Labor Day weekend approaching, the Federal Aviation Administration is predicting the last getaway of the summer will be one of the busiest, with more than 250,000 flights scheduled through Tuesday.

And despite the destruction from Hurricane Idalia in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas, air travel has so far not been impacted too badly across the country. Passengers showing up at Los Angeles International Airport on Thursday found relatively smooth flying one day after the storm raced through the Southeast.

“This has been the smoothest travel day I’ve had in a long time,” traveler Samira Hedayat told CBS News. “Usually there’s been so many delays.”

Some 57% of Americans said they plan to take a trip for Labor Day, capping the busiest summer travel season on record. The TSA has screened more than 227 million passengers since Memorial Day, with another 14 million expected by Tuesday.

Despite travel headaches in July, U.S.-based airlines canceled 21% fewer flights compared to last year, according to flight-tracking site FlightAware. Delays are up, however, with one in four flights leaving late. 

“There’s still a lot of work to do and a long way to go. But given everything that the system has been up against this summer, it’s performed quite well,” said Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

Unsurprisingly, Florida’s Miami International Airport and Fort Lauderdale International Airport combined to have the most delays of any major metropolitan area in the U.S. on Thursday night, according to FlightAware. But only one flight had been canceled between the two airports. 

Most Americans, however, will be driving to their destination.

“We usually never travel on the holidays because of the crowds and the gas prices but we have a friend and just want to get out of the heat,” one man told CBS News.

Gas prices are averaging nearly $3.83 a gallon.

“No matter how expensive gas prices are, when people decide to go on vacation, they just budget in the price of gas,” said AAA spokesperson Andrew Gross. “They’re gonna take that trip.”

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