Thanksgiving air travel set to be busiest since pandemic began | News

CHICAGO (Reuters) — Airports and commercial airlines across the United States registered one of their busiest days since before the pandemic on Wednesday as millions of Americans traveled to visit loved ones for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Thanksgiving-eve usually tends to be the busiest day for travel. This year, however, working from home allowed many people to travel early and avoid the last day rush.

“So far, so good,” said Lani Emanuel, who was traveling from Los Angeles to Seattle to see her daughter. “It was a little tricky finding parking, but it doesn’t seem too crazy busy just yet.”

At Newark Airport, too, passengers did not have to wait long to pass through the security checkpoints. Some of the restaurants at the airport were not packed, either.

Yet, the Transportation Security Administration advised passengers to arrive early to allow extra time for security. U.S. carriers also ramped up capacity, anticipating higher demand on Thanksgiving-eve, data from Cirium showed.

Thanksgiving marks the beginning of what was shaping up as the busiest holiday season in two years. Rising Covid-19 vaccination rates have made people more confident about travel, leading to a surge in bookings.

U.S. consumers also enter the holiday season flush with spending power, thanks to a still-hefty pile of leftover savings from multiple rounds of government pandemic relief and now double-digit year-over-year wage increases as businesses compete for scarce workers.

Data out Wednesday showed consumer spending overall grew by a greater-than-expected 1.3% in October. Spending on big-ticket items like automobiles lifted the headline figure, but the data also showed broad-based increases in spending on services like travel and eating out that had been sharply curtailed during much of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Americans shelled out record amounts on recreation, eating out, staying away from home and foreign travel last month.

Ramping up staffing

The TSA expects to screen about 20 million air passengers during the Thanksgiving travel period, the most since 2019 when nearly 26 million Americans were on the move at that time. On Tuesday, the agency screened about 2.21 million U.S. air passengers, the sixth consecutive day with checkpoint volume topping 2 million.

Lorie Dankers, a TSA spokeswoman, said the agency has hired 6,000 new officers this year and has enough staff to deal with the increase in passenger volumes.

“So staffing, while we are hiring, will not slow people down this holiday season,” Dankers said.

The holiday weekend is also a test for carriers after a spate of flight cancellations marred travel over the summer. One in five Americans are concerned about delays and cancellations, an American Pecans/YouGov survey found.

Carriers have ramped up staffing and offered bonuses and other incentives to employees to ensure they have enough resources.

“We’re staffed and ready to get our customers to where they need to go safely, reliably and enjoyably,” a Delta Air Lines spokesperson said.

Calm weather expected for Thanksgiving should also help to prevent disruption.

U.S. passenger railroad Amtrak is also expecting a jump in passenger volumes. A company spokesperson said some trains are already close to full capacity.

Travel group AAA estimates, in all, 53.4 million people will travel for the Thanksgiving holiday, up 13% from 2020, with air travel recovering to about 91% of pre-pandemic levels.

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Huskies Set for Jacksonville Classic

DEKALB, Ill. – The Northern Illinois University men’s basketball team continues its six-game road swing to begin the season as it travels to The Jacksonville Classic by Fabletics on Sunday and Monday, Nov. 21 and 22, at UNF Arena in Jacksonville, Fla. The Huskies will open the tournament against Boston University at 11 a.m. CT on Sunday before meeting either Little Rock or Sam Houston State on Monday, at a time to be determined. 

NIU heads to the Sunshine State with a 1-2 overall record after dropping a 54-37 decision at Missouri on Thursday night (Nov. 18). Trendon Hankerson (Novi, Mich./Novi) scored a team-high eight points against the Tigers while Darweshi Hunter (Cincinnati, Ohio/Weber State) grabbed a team-best, and career-high, seven rebounds. 

Boston University heads to Jacksonville with a 2-2 overall record after topping Hartford, 75-70, last time out on Thursday (Nov. 18). Javante McCoy leads the Terriers in scoring, averaging 16.0 points per game. Walter Whyte adds 14.5 points per contest. The Terriers posted a 7-11 overall record in 2020-21, including a 6-10 mark in the Patriot League.

Sunday’s contest will be the second all-time between NIU and Boston University. The Huskies won the first meeting, 78-65, on Nov. 19, 1999, in Miami, Fla., as part of the Florida International/Doral Tipoff Classic en route to winning the tournament. 

Following the event in Jacksonville, NIU will play one more game away from DeKalb prior to the home opener. The Huskies will travel to Marquette on Saturday, Nov. 27, for a 7 p.m. tip against the Golden Eagles that will be televised on Fox Sports 2. 

Season tickets for the 2021-22 basketball season are on sale now beginning at just $80 for Huskieland general admission tickets in sections 115-118 (minimum of four tickets required to purchase). Reserved season tickets for Huskie men’s basketball are available for $120. Season tickets can be purchased online at or by calling the NIU Athletics Ticket Office at 815-753-PACK (7225). Courtside and Nelson Club premium ticket options are also available through the Huskie Athletic Fund or by calling, 815-753-1923. NIU will host Eastern Illinois in its regular season home opener on Wednesday, Dec. 1.


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North Hampshire residents to pay ‘more for less’ as council tax set to rise

Parish councillors have once again vented their frustration at the current tip arrangement, with one saying North Hampshire residents would soon be paying “more for less”.

With Hampshire County Council facing an £80m black hole, council tax is expected to go up another 3.99 per cent for the forthcoming tax year – taking the amount paid to the county council for an average band D property up to around £1,400.

Despite this rise, North Hampshire residents continue to face either a 25-mile round trip to the household waste recycling centre in Andover or pay £7 to use the tip in Newtown Road in West Berkshire – a situation labelled “Hobson’s Choice” by Highclere Parish Council chairman Brad Norton.

The household waste recyling centre in Newtown Road.
The household waste recyling centre in Newtown Road.

At a parish council meeting last week, Mr Norton queried whether Highclere residents were essentially subsidising the rest of Hampshire residents by paying more in council tax than they received in services.

He said he had made a Freedom of Information request to councillor Rob Humby, the county council’s executive member for economy, transport and environment, on the matter but received no response.

Mr Norton said: “I look at this quite simplistically – how much do they get from Highclere residents and how much do they spend in Highclere?

“If there’s a surplus of the money they receive from the parish why can’t it go towards subsidising our trips to the HWRC?

“What’s the expenditure and what’s the income? I’d be very surprised if there’s a deficit.”

He added that with council tax set to rise again, the parish’s residents were set to pay “more for less”, and that there were many “disgruntled” residents.

The meeting was also attended by county councillor Tom Thacker (Whitchurch and the Cleres), who said there needed to be a regional or national solution which would allow residents to use whichever tip they wanted.

He said: “Hampshire County Council’s obligation is to provide a HWRC in Hampshire.

“If they wanted to do it to the minimum they could have set up a massive recycling centre in Winchester, but we’ve actually got at least 11 large ones around the county.

“The fact is we’ve lobbied Kit [Malthouse, the North West Hampshire MP] that we need to be able to have a regional or national solution which is funded, then Hampshire tax payers can travel to whichever HWRC is most convenient for them.”

Mr Norton said it wasn’t a closed matter with Highclere residents and would “rumble on and on”.

The debate came three weeks after East Woodhay parish councillors also voiced their frustration at the current arrangements, saying they felt they were paying twice to get rid of rubbish.

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MEN’S BASKETBALL: Bulldogs set for Vermont, Fort Myers Tip-Off after Swain scores 1,000th in win at Siena

William McCormack, Contributing Photographer

The Yale men’s basketball team cruised past Siena (0–3, 0–0 MAAC) in Albany, NY on Tuesday night, scoring nearly 50 points in the second half en route to an 84–52 win.

Guard Azar Swain ’22 led all players with 23 points and reached a career milestone of 1,000 points at Yale when he drained a pullup three-pointer in the second half. Swain and the Bulldogs (3–1, 0–0 Ivy) return north Friday afternoon for a game at Vermont (2–1, 0–0 America East), a fixture on the Elis’ schedule in every season they have competed in since the 2007–2008 campaign. Over Thanksgiving break, the team will then travel to Florida to participate in the “Palms Division” of the Rocket Mortgage Fort Myers Tip-Off tournament with a Tuesday game against Southern Utah (1–3, 0–0 Big Sky) and a Wednesday contest with either Milwaukee (1–2, 0–0 Horizon) or Bowling Green (1–2, 0–0 MAC).

Swain said crossing the 1,000-point mark on Tuesday night was emotional. 

“[It] means everything to me truthfully,” Swain told the News. “It’s the truest result of work, patience, time and perseverance. And it’s so special to me because of the journey. … It really took a lot to get to this point, so I’m just thankful.”

The senior guard from Brockton, Mass. became the 31st Yale men’s basketball player to score 1,000 points. Before Swain, forward Paul Atkinson ’21 was the most recent to join the club, achieving the milestone at Columbia in February 2020. Swain’s career total at Yale, however, pales in comparison to his scoring as a high schooler. He became the first player at The Rivers School to score 2,000 points and graduated with a grand total of 2,185.

Guard and captain Jalen Gabbidon ’22 added 12 points, eight rebounds and four assists at Siena, while guards Matthue Cotton ’23 and August Mahoney ’24 scored eight and seven, respectively. Mahoney, who is from Saratoga Springs, NY and attended Albany Academy, made his first career start in place of point guard Eze Dike ’22, who rolled his ankle last week and sat out Tuesday night with an injury.

“You’re going to play a lot of games through the course of a year, and sometimes you’re gonna have some bad nights, and we had a really bad night against Seton Hall, and it was important that we came and bounced back and played better today,” Yale head coach James Jones told play-by-play announcer Robert Lee on the ESPN3 broadcast immediately after the win. “Early on in the game, I thought we still had some of the same mistakes we were making against Seton Hall, turning the ball over against pressure. I think that we got a lot better in the second half — we only turned it over one time — and that was a huge difference for us.”

Swain now heads into Yale’s Thanksgiving break slate just 23 three-point makes away from surpassing the Bulldogs’ career three-pointers record held by Ed Petersen ’92. 

Vermont poses the Bulldogs’ first challenge of the break in a match that features two of New England’s strongest mid-major programs. Yale ranks No. 20 in the latest Mid-Major Top 25 poll, while the Catamounts sit at No. 22. The University of Vermont opened its season with a 14-point win over Northern Iowa before falling at Maryland on Saturday. On Tuesday, UVM handled NCAA Division III opponent Worcester Polytechnic, which was facing its first DI opponent in 11 years.

When Yale last visited Patrick Gym to face the Catamounts in November 2018, the Bulldogs fell, 79–70. UVM alum Anthony Lamb, who won the NBA G League’s Most Improved Player Award last year with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, frustrated the Elis with 34 points. When UVM next played at Yale in early December 2019, the Bulldogs contained him to 18 points on eight-of-23 shooting and beat Vermont, 65—52. Atkinson led all scorers with 23 points.

Lamb has graduated, but Vermont remains a strong program under head coach John Becker. As of Thursday evening, the Catamounts rank 95th out of all 358 DI men’s basketball programs in the 2022 Pomeroy College Basketball Ratings (KenPom). Yale ranks no. 140.

“I think the team is looking forward to the game this Friday and going into the break,” forward Isaiah Kelly ’23 told the News Wednesday night. “We have a few kinks to work out, but we had a good practice [Wednesday]. … If we bring the same energy [Thursday] to practice and carry that into the upcoming games, I think we will excel.”

Next week, Yale heads to Fort Myers for a multi-team event before Thanksgiving. Its Tuesday opponent, Southern Utah, won the Big Sky’s regular-season championship last year and was picked to finish first in this winter’s preseason coaches and media polls.

Milwaukee, which is playing on the other side of the Palms Division bracket, will play Yale Wednesday if both teams either win or lose on Tuesday. The Panthers feature projected 2022 NBA Draft lottery pick Patrick Baldwin Jr., a 6-foot-9 freshman guard averaging 17.7 points a game. If not Milwaukee, Yale will meet Bowling Green on Wednesday. The Falcons rank No. 160 on KenPom as of Thursday evening.

Yale is 13–14 against Vermont in the two schools’ all-time series.


William McCormack currently serves as a Sports and Digital Editor for the Yale Daily News. He previously covered men’s basketball and the athletic administration as a staff reporter. Originally from Boston, he is a junior in Timothy Dwight College.

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River Hawks Set to Face Michigan Tuesday Night

November 16 vs. Michigan (B1G+ – 6 p.m.)
Watch | Live Stats | Game Notes
LOWELL, Mass. – The UMass Lowell women’s basketball team (1-1, 0-0 AE) will travel to Ann Arbor, Michigan to take on the University of Michigan Wolverines (2-0, 0-0 Big 10) on Tuesday night. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. at the Crisler Center.
The River Hawks enter Tuesday after winning their first game of the season and home opener, beating Bryant 68-54. Jaliena Sanchez led all scorers, tying her career-high, with19 points and added three assists and six rebounds.
The Wolverines enter Tuesday’s contest after beating St. Francis Brooklyn 82-46 for their second win of the season. Naz Hillman is averaging a team-high 24.5 points per game so far this season. Hillman and Emily Kiser each average double-digit boards already, with 10 and 10.5, respectively.
A win would be the first victory against Michigan. Tuesday’s matchup is the first time UMass Lowell and Michigan will meet.
The River Hawks dominated the play in the paint last time out against Bryant, outscoring the Bulldogs 32-16. UMass Lowell also outrebounded Bryant and was able to pick up nine offensive boards. The River Hawks will look to continue to score in the paint against a Michigan team with plenty of size.
After shooting 24-54 (44%) against Bryant, the River Hawks hope to continue their success from the field. UMass Lowell limited Bryant to shooting just 18-49 and will look to shut down the Wolverine offense on Tuesday.

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Report: U.S. Extended-Stay Hotels Set Q3 Performance Records

Third-quarter performance for U.S. extended-stay hotels set 14 new records for metrics including demand, occupancy, average daily rate and revenue per available room, according to the latest quarterly report from The Highland Group. Additionally, in year-to-date metrics through Sept. 30, economy extended-stay hotels set four new records, midprice reported two and the upscale segment set a new high for demand.

“It is highly likely that extended-stay hotels will continue to set new performance records during the near term,” said The Highland Group partner Mark Skinner in a statement.

Third-quarter U.S. extended-stay hotel room-night demand was 40,431, representing a 25.7 percent year-over-year increase and the highest gain in demand ever reported during any quarter for the segment, according to the report. Supply growth, with various hotel closures and re-openings due to the effects of the pandemic, was 6.3 percent during the same period, consistent with what was seen prior to the pandemic.

The overall U.S. extended-stay occupancy level was 78.8 percent for the quarter, an 18.2 percent year-over-year increase. The economy tier reported the highest occupancy level at 83.3 percent, followed by midprice at 78.5 percent. Both figures were third-quarter records for their tiers and represent full recovery to 2019 third-quarter occupancy levels. Occupancy in the upscale tier, however, which accounts for about 40 percent of extended-stay room supply, was 77.2 percent. Though lower than the other tiers, the number represents a 30 percent year-over-year increase. 

Economy and midprice ADRs have surpassed 2019 levels and set new third-quarter records. Upscale-tier ADR increased 22.4 percent from its 2020 level but still is about $9 lower than its 2019 level. The overall U.S. extended-stay segment’s ADR was $104.96 for the quarter, about 98 percent of the 2019 third-quarter rate. 

Third-quarter RevPAR was up 48.5 percent year over year to $82.76. All three tiers showed significant year-over-year improvement, with economy and midprice RevPAR above 2019 third-quarter levels. Upscale RevPAR improved 59.1 percent year over year to $106.18, representing about 89 percent of 2019’s third-quarter level.

RELATED: Report: Q2 U.S. Extended-Stay Demand at Record High

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Thanksgiving Air Travel Set to Outpace Pre-Pandemic Levels | National News

Thanksgiving flight bookings are exceeding 2019 levels, according to a new report, rebounding significantly from low holiday travel during the first year of the coronavirus pandemic. And prices are closely following.

Bookings for the Thanksgiving holiday have skyrocketed past last year’s levels, at 78% higher than this point during 2020, according to a report from Adobe’s Digital Economic Index, and are modestly surpassing even pre-pandemic levels, at 3.2% higher than 2019 bookings. The report notes that, historically, most Thanksgiving travel has been booked by this point in the year.

“After a year where many were unable to see their friends and families for Thanksgiving, we are expecting busy airports this month,” lead analyst at Adobe Digital Insights Vivek Pandya said in a statement. “The holiday uptick is also driving up prices online, and consumers should start thinking about Christmas travel pretty soon.”

Political Cartoons on the Economy

Like much of the leisure and hospitality industry, airlines took a big hit during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. But demand for air travel began rising as vaccinations increased and coronavirus cases decreased earlier this year, with flight bookings nearly reaching pre-pandemic levels by June.

However, the sudden rise of the delta variant this summer “all but blunted the path to recovery,” according to an Adobe Analytics analysis released in August, which recorded a second straight month of declining bookings during the month.

And bookings and revenue remained blunted during the last two months, according to Adobe, despite recent upticks in travel. Online spending for domestic flights was down 35% below 2019 level in September, in part due to discounted travel rates. October was more encouraging, at 28% below 2019 levels, with bookings down just 10% compared to the same period in 2019. Prices also increased for flights in October, rising to just 7% below pre-pandemic levels, up from 13% below 2019 levels in September.

To combat the coronavirus’ ongoing effect on the industry, airlines have been at the helm of corporate coronavirus restrictions such as vaccine mandates to keep their operations running during the last few months. In August, United Airlines became the first carrier to institute a vaccine mandate for all of its employees. American, Alaska and JetBlue announced later on they would require vaccinations, after President Joe Biden put pressure on federal contractors and some private companies to institute vaccine mandates for employees.

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Cuba Reopening News: Cuba is all set to reopen for international travel

Cuba is all set to reopen for international travel

Cuba is now ready to reopen for international travellers. The country has announced that it will permit international visitors starting from November 15. The incredible Caribbean country is a favourite among explorers, and many are going to get their wish fulfilled to travel to Cuba very soon.

The bustle of its start city, Havana, is promising a comeback with the reopening. The country has seen a decrease in COVID-19 infections and mortality.

It is important to note here that Cuba will however continue to impose COVID appropriate behaviour, so wearing facemasks, and using hand sanitizers will be mandatory for all. The good news is that travellers may not be required to quarantine anymore, provided they are fully vaccinated or have a negative RT-PCR test report in hand.

Cuba fought the coronavirus with locally made vaccines, Soberana 02, Abdala, and Soberana Plus. As of today, the country has reported a total of 956452 infections, and 8265 deaths. The official reports suggest that all three doses have been administered to a total of 7.3 million people out of 11 million people.

Cuba has also permitted children to return to schools, while cinemas have also reopened. The Tropicana cabaret is now also going to return to stage.

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Tar Heels Set To Tip Off vs. NC A&T

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Tuesday is a day the UNC women’s basketball team has long awaited. Yes, the Tar Heels will open the much-anticipated 2021-22 season by hosting North Carolina A&T at 4:30 p.m. at Carmichael Arena.
But they’ll also, following a season of restricted attendance, welcome back the fans.
“Opening days are always exciting, but even more so coming off of a Covid year,” said UNC coach Courtney Banghart, who is in her third season at the Tar Heel helm. “Due to the uniqueness of last year, only three players on our roster have experienced how much fun it is to play in front of fans in Carmichael – the rest are either new this year or were freshmen last year.
“All of us can’t wait to welcome the Tar Heel faithful back tomorrow, all while honoring our amazing faculty and staff, and to finally get this season started.” 
Tuesday is Faculty/Staff Appreciation Day. Faculty and staff always get in free to Carmichael with a UNC OneCard, but the first 250 will also receive a $5 concessions voucher.
This is also the first game of nine games with a Jordans drawing for UNC students. One lucky student will win a pair of Jordans.

Fans also can take advantage of a unique basketball double-header on campus, with the men’s team tipping off the Hubert Davis era at 7 p.m. against Loyola (Maryland) at the Smith Center. The first 125 UNC students at Carmichael will be able to participate in the Fever March, with reserved seats at the Smith Center waiting after conclusion of the women’s basketball game.

 The game will air live on ACC Network Extra here.

UNC vs. North Carolina A&T

The Tar Heels and Aggies have met on just two previous occasions, with UNC winning both at Carmichael by margins of 50+ points.

• The last meeting was on Nov. 21, 2000, in Chapel Hill. In the home opener for Carolina (after starting the season with two road games), the Tar Heels beat the Aggies 101-33.


Scouting the Aggies

The 2021-22 season is North Carolina A&T’s debut as a member of the Big South after playing the past six seasons in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

• Like the Tar Heels, North Carolina A&T played in the 2021 NCAA Tournament in San Antonio, Texas. The Aggies, 14-3 overall last season, reached the field by earning an automatic bid as the MEAC champion.

• The Aggies were picked to finish fourth in the Big South.

• Chanin Scott, a graduate student who started her career at Georgia Tech, led the team in scoring last season with 14.3 points per game and in rebounds with 8.6 per game. Sophomore guard Sean Kelly Darks was the only player to start all 17 games last season, when she averaged 10.5 points as a true freshman.

• Senior guard Kennedy   Boyd played the 2018-19 season at UNC.

Up Next

Tuesday’s game kicks off a trio of in-state matchups to open Carolina’s season. After hosting the Aggies, the Tar Heels travel to Charlotte to take on the 49ers on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. After that, UNC returns home to host Appalachian State on Nov. 17 at 6 p.m.



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Bolette to set sail on inaugural season from Southampton | News

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ new flagship, Bolette, is setting sail on her first venture from Southampton, marking the start of its inaugural season of sailing from the city.

Between now and August, Bolette will offer 26 sailings from the city, including opportunities to witness the Northern Lights in Norway and the Geminid Meteor Shower in the Canary Islands.

The ship will set sail to Antwerp and Amsterdam on Bolette’s five-night ‘Netherlands & Belgium City Break’, with future destinations including the Amalfi Coast, Norwegian fjords, European cities and Iceland.

Durations range from four to 19-nights.

Martin Lister, head of destination experience and itinerary planning at Fred. Olsen, said: “Bolette’s inaugural programme from Southampton has been hand-crafted to offer guests aboard some really special opportunities.

“Whether that’s seeking out the phenomenal Northern Lights, discovering the history of the Balkan regions or sailing into the heart of the Norwegian fjords to witness their beauty direct from the ship.

“We’ve also timed a number of our cruises to coincide with special events ashore, for example our call into Amsterdam in April will allow guests to enjoy the world-renowned Floriade Expo, and we will visit Monaco in time for the Grand Prix in May.

“Guests joining us in the Canary Islands in early December will also have the chance to witness the Geminid Meteor Shower during their cruise.

“Plus, for those who prefer to sail from Southampton, it will be their first chance to explore our new flapship Bolette and enjoy her many facilities for themselves.

“We can’t wait to welcome guests, both new and returning, on board from today.”

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