‘Fly earlier, buy gas earlier’: Up to 4.9M travelers expected to travel Thanksgiving weekend

Today is “fly earlier, buy gas earlier” day as thousands of travelers are expected to travel this weekend ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

It is the heaviest travel week of the year so far.

AAA said it expects 43.1 million people to travel 50 miles or more for the holiday — a 1.2 percent increase over last year’s 43.5 million Americans who traveled during the same time.

The busiest periods to travel over Thanksgiving weekend are expected to be from Thursday at 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday with more than 4.9 million travelers, but the heaviest travel hours are expected on Friday at 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day with more than 5.6 million travelers.

“U.S. airfares will remain stable as consumers focus on the value of their travel dollars,” AAA spokesman Marshall Doney said in a statement. “AAA Travel projects that airfares for a roundtrip Thanksgiving flight will be just slightly more expensive than last year.”

Despite AAA’s modest predictions for holiday travelers, the company said 36.1 million Americans will fly while more than 2.2 million will drive to their destination.

AAA said that since the average Thanksgiving flight will cost $389 to book, passengers who book closer to the holidays could see more favorable fares.

According to the Department of Transportation, an estimated 34.1 million travelers flew on Thanksgiving day last year, while 3.9 million people drove to their destination.

The Transportation Department said 38.1 million Americans flew over the holidays in 2016.

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