Scripps News LifeTravel


Holiday travel rush kicks off as Americans hit roads and airports

Around 115 million people in the U.S. are expected to travel by car or plane over the 10-day holiday period.
Posted at 9:03 AM, Dec 21, 2023

The holiday travel rush is kicking off as travelers hit the roads and skies.

Around 115 million Americans are expected to travel by car or plane over the 10-day holiday period, according to AAA.

The busiest days on the road are expected to be Saturday, next Thursday and the following Saturday. AAA says the number of people driving to their holiday destinations is up by nearly 2% from last year.

The number of people traveling by plane during this holiday travel period is up by 6.5% from a year ago.

At least 25 million people will be traveling through U.S. airports between Thursday and New Year's Day. Officials for the Transportation Security Administration say they have been screening more than 2.2 million people each day for more than a week.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg reminded passengers of their rights as airplane passengers and customers. 

"If your flight gets canceled for any reason, you are entitled to a full refund, if you choose that instead of rebooking. And if you're having trouble getting airlines to honor that, we are here to support you," Buttigieg said. "Bottom line, if an airline lets passengers down, we're here to hold them accountable. And while nobody controls the weather, we are going to use every tool at our disposal, in partnership with the airlines, to keep cancellations and delays as low as possible."

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is expected to be the busiest airport during the travel rush, with over 1.4 million estimated travelers passing through the airport.

In terms of weather, rain may cause some travel troubles across the West and Southwest. California will be largely covered in rain Thursday, with even some concern for mudslides in the southern part of the state. The rain will move inland into Arizona.

Rain will also move from New Mexico into Texas, though it won't be too severe.