Memorial Day travel is back! 1.2 million Georgians expected to travel 3 years into pandemic – WSB-TV Channel 2

Record high gasoline prices and soaring plane ticket fares aren’t discouraging many people from traveling for this Memorial Day weekend.

AAA predicts nearly 1.2 million Georgians will travel 50 miles or more from their homes.

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“That’s near pre-pandemic levels. Despite that airfare is up about six percent, car rentals are up, hotels are up about 42%. But it’s not deterring people,” AAA spokesman Garrett Townsend said.


AAA estimates the number of Georgia taking to the airways will spike 26% over last year. On Thursday afternoon, Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International was crowded with air travelers. Channel 2′s Tom Regan spoke with one man who’s treating his family, in particular his daughter, to a special vacation.

“She graduated from high school. She loves Disneyland and she always wanted to go to Disneyland so that’s what we are going to do.” Lou Blackman said.

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But air travel could get bumpy. Delta announced it has to cut 100 flights a day during the summer travel season because of a pilot shortage.

Business travelers worry the cancellations will complicate their trips for work.

“I think it’s crazy. It could be very inconvenient. It’s very bad, especially as a businessman. I fly Delta all the time.” Sean Craley said.

Even high gas prices aren’t keeping people from hitting the road for the long holiday weekend. But they could double the cost of a highway journey.

One driver who was heading to Destin, Florida, told Regan it cost $125 to fill up his pickup truck.

“I would really like it if gas prices were lower. This thing drinks.” said driver Brandon Jones.

Management at Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport are encouraging air travelers to arrive two to two and half hours before their departure time.

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What you need to know about summer travel during the pandemic

DENVER (KDVR) – The summer travel season will be different this year with a more relaxed set of COVID-19 guidelines. Still, medical experts have told FOX31 that they are seeing an increase in positive tests at some urgent care centers and recommend using caution while traveling.

Dr. Mark Montano Medical Director of HealthONE CareNow Urgent Care told FOX31 that this time of year can present a challenge when it comes to diagnosing illness.

“People are coming in saying ‘hey doc I have a runny nose and congestion,’” he explained. “They may have fever or chills and sometimes it’s hard to sort out am I sick, is this allergies, is it COVID, is this flu?”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised that you do not travel until a full 10 days after your symptoms started or after the date your positive test was taken if you had no symptoms.

Do not travel if you have COVID-19 symptoms, have tested positive, are waiting for the results of a COVID-19 test, or had close contact with a person who has COVID-19 and has been recommended to quarantine.

Make sure you are protected before traveling

Dr. Montano told FOX31 that most people have had two vaccines and one booster, but a fourth vaccine is now recommended for those over the age of 50 or over the age of twelve with a compromised immune system.

Travelers should make sure to understand COVID guidelines and requirements at their destination.

“There still might be some places where you are traveling for your summer that would require you to be fully vaccinated,” said Dr. Montano.

For more information about CDC travel recommendations visit their travel advisory page.

Doctors said they aren’t certain about how long immunity gained from having COVID will last, so it’s best to continue to practice safety measures and talk with your personal physician about how soon to get a vaccine.

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EU lifts mask requirement for air travel as pandemic ebbs

BERLIN (AP) — The European Union will no longer require masks to be worn at airports and on planes starting next week amid the easing of coronavirus restrictions across the bloc, authorities said Wednesday.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency said it hoped the joint decision, made with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, would mark “a big step forward in the normalization of air travel” for passengers and crews.

The new guideline “takes account of the latest developments in the pandemic, in particular the levels of vaccination and naturally acquired immunity, and the accompanying lifting of restrictions in a growing number of European countries,” the two agencies said in a joint statement.

“Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them,” EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky said. “And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”

While the new recommendations take effect on May 16, rules for masks may still vary by airline beyond that date if they fly to or from destinations where the rules are different.

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control director Andrea Ammon said washing hands and social distancing should still be practiced, but airport operators are advised not to impose distancing requirements if these are likely to lead to a bottleneck.

The agencies also recommended that airlines keep systems for collecting passenger locator information on standby in case they are needed in future, for example if a new dangerous variant emerges.

© 2022 . All rights reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

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Busiest summer travel season expected since start of pandemic

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The official start to summer is inching closer and travel is on the rise. According to AAA, reservations for flights, rental cars, cruises, and hotels for Memorial Day weekend have spiked 122% over last year’s holiday.

AAA Alabama spokesperson Clay Ingram told News 19 the recent increase in gas prices does not appear to be deterring summer travelers. “It looks like our demand is going to increase as we get to Memorial Day,” Ingram explained. “And the summer travel season is still going to be really busy; a lot of people are still traveling regardless of what the prices are.”

More people are heading to the airport, too. On May 9, more than 2.2 million travelers crossed through TSA checkpoints nationwide; nearly 89% of the travelers TSA saw the same day in 2019.

Numbers have also risen locally; Huntsville International Airport spokesperson Mary Swanstrom told News 19 the airport is prepared for a busy summer.

“We are currently at about 87.7% of passengers compared to this time in 2019, which was the highest volume year the airport has seen to date,” Swanstrom explained.

With the increased travelers and more families heading out on summer vacations, Swanstrom urged people to get to the airport early.

“Really allow yourself plenty of time to travel with the kids,” she shared. “Plan to be at the airport an hour and a half early or earlier.”

Another tip she gave – book your trip early. Swanstrom said this will ensure you get the lowest fares and your preferred flight times.

Huntsville International has also added new routes, bringing their total number of nonstop destinations to 14. Nonstop services to Miami and Denver have already begun while flights to Las Vegas will start in August.

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New Zealand welcomes back tourists as pandemic rules eased

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand welcomed tourists from the U.S., Canada, Britain, Japan and more than 50 other countries for the first time in more than two years Monday after dropping most of its remaining pandemic border restrictions.

The country has long been renowned for its breathtaking scenery and adventure tourism offerings such as bungy jumping and skiing. Before the spread of COVID-19, more than 3 million tourists visited each year, accounting for 20% of New Zealand’s foreign income and more than 5% of the overall economy.

But international tourism stopped altogether in early 2020 after New Zealand imposed some of the world’s toughest border restrictions.

The border rules remained in place as the government at first pursued an elimination strategy and then tried to tightly control the spread of the virus. The spread of omicron and vaccinations of more than 80% of New Zealand’s 5 million population prompted the gradual easing of restrictions.

New Zealand reopened to tourists from Australia three weeks ago and on Monday to about 60 visa-waiver countries, including much of Europe. Most tourists from India, China and other non-waiver countries are still not allowed to enter.

Tourists will need to be vaccinated and to test themselves for the virus after arriving.

“Today is a day to celebrate, and is a big moment in our reconnection with the world,” said Tourism Minister Stuart Nash.

At Auckland Airport, flights bringing in tourists began landing from early in the morning, coming in direct from places including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore.

The border reopening will help boost tourism ahead of New Zealand’s upcoming ski season. But the real test of how much the tourism industry rebounds will come in December, when the peak summer season begins in the Southern Hemisphere nation.

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Don’t let vouchers for flights canceled during the pandemic go to waste

The clock is ticking on credits and vouchers issued by airlines for flights canceled during the pandemic, and a D.C.-based consumers’ group encourages people not to let them go to waste.

The clock is ticking on credits and vouchers issued by airlines for flights canceled during the pandemic, and a D.C.-based consumers’ group encourages people not to let them go to waste.

“It’s not as if they’re going to remind you that you have these credits or vouchers; you have to go look for them,” said Kevin Brasler, executive editor at Washington Consumers’ Checkbook.

“And then, often it’s difficult to use them; you usually even have to call the airline and book directly with an agent as opposed to being able to do it online,” he said.

When travelers and airlines were canceling flights mid-pandemic, getting refunds wasn’t typically an option.

“Instead of giving refunds by default, airlines gave out credits and vouchers,” Brasler notes.

You could always ask for cash back now, Brasler said.

“A consumer is entitled to a refund if the airline canceled a flight, regardless of the reason,” according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. “A consumer is entitled to a refund if the airline made a significant schedule change and/or significantly delays a flight and the consumer chooses not to travel.”

People who cancel flights for their own reasons are only entitled to credit for use on a future flight.

“I think it’s worth asking the airline if you’re entitled to a refund versus the credit they might have for you — even though it might have been a year or more, you might still be entitled to a refund as opposed to the credit. It’s better to get cash back than a credit that’s more difficult to use and has restrictions on it,” Brasler said.

If the airline won’t refund the cost of your ticket, and vouchers are at risk of expiring, you could always request an extension. Brasler said Delta has already announced they’re going to extend their deadline until the end of 2023.

If the experience of trying to rebound from a canceled flight results in a stalemate with the airline, you could always file a complaint. The USDOT has advice for that on its website.

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Are pandemic flight bargains over? Air travel costs surging, more to come – Daily News

Patrick De Haan has a bird’s-eye view of skyrocketing prices around the country. He’s the head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, a company that crowdsources gas price data. But more recently, he is feeling the pain of emptying his wallet for one of the latest trends of surging costs – air travel.

“My wife and I booked two trips to Rio last year,” De Haan said. “Now I’m spending 20% more just to get to Atlanta than we spent to go to Brazil.”

But it’s bad news beyond De Haan’s household budget. Many travelers used to scoring pandemic flight deals are in for an unpleasant surprise as the tides of cheap air travel have shifted.

According to Hopper, a flight-book app, the cost of domestic air travel is up 40% since the start of the year with the average roundtrip flight at $330. The company expects prices to rise 10% in May.

Multiple air travel experts say the worst is still to come. After two years of COVID crushing our travel plans, consumer demand is now high despite increasing prices just as the cost of jet fuel has ballooned due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. And that’s a double whammy on fares.

“People see an opportunity where they can book summer travel as (COVID) cases seem down. So it’s really propelling this desire to travel,” said Vivek Pandya, a lead analyst for Adobe Digital Insights, which compiles air travel data.

The era of cheap prices officially ended in February when domestic air travel fares finally topped pre-pandemic costs, Pandya said.

Airlines are also seeing trouble keeping the planes flying off the tarmac due to pilot shortages and weather delays contributing to cost increases. Earlier this month Alaska Airlines and other carriers canceled more than 3,500 U.S. flights in one weekend impacting tens of thousands of travelers. This week, Jet Blue said it is expected to reduce flight capacity by up to 10% through the summer, CNBC reported.

For California’s most popular route San Francisco to Los Angeles a weekend roundtrip flight is around $200 in May, nearly double the average cost over the past two months, according to price data on Google Flights. But weekday travelers are in luck as they can still land a sub-$100 flight. That’s cheaper than driving the same route, with a car getting 40 miles per gallon or less, by upwards of $10. 

Kathleen Bangs, a former airline pilot, and spokesperson for the flight tracking company FlightAware said there is a small window for flying in May where deal-hunting travelers could snag cheaper airfares. “Especially the earlier part (of May), as it’s a post-spring break, yet not Memorial Day weekend,” said Bangs. “But demand is huge right now for the summer season even Europe is back, despite the ongoing war in Ukraine.”

An American Airlines Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner approaches for a landing at the Miami International Airport on December 10, 2021 in Miami, Florida.(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Not all travel booking has to be an excruciating process of emptying your wallet. Some travelers who hunted for bargains or got lucky were pleasantly surprised by the price of their tickets.

Michael Petrelis, a longtime LGBTQ advocate in San Francisco, snagged a $300 business-class flight on United from Newark to San Francisco. “After sleeping for two hours, I watched a favorite Polish film, IDA, while enjoying a snack from the airline,” said Petrelis. “All my flights should be that way!”

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