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AAA: Holiday travelers will be out in droves this week

Auto advocacy group expects Wednesday, Thursday to be busiest days on the nation’s roads.

Heavy traffic on the eastbound LIE near Glen

Heavy traffic on the eastbound LIE near Glen Cove Road in Roslyn on June, 30, 2017. Photo Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

Long Islanders planning to travel this holiday season will have lots of company as a record 97.4 million will hit the road, according to AAA.

That is 3 percent more than the same period last year, the auto group said.

Drivers should try to avoid being on the road on Wednesday and Thursday, days that historically have congestion, AAA said.

The busiest days for air travel are expected to be Thursday and Friday, according to the U.S. Transportation Security Administration, which conducts security screening on passengers.

TSA also urged travelers to check the agency’s website — tsa.gov — before leaving for the airport if they have any questions about carrying gifts such as snow globes, pies and toys. A TSA tip: Put gifts in boxes instead of wrapping them in case they need to be opened for inspection.

Airlines also are expecting a year-end travel boom as the industry group Airlines for America predicts 51 million people will travel by air.

The airline industry defines its travel period as Dec. 15 through Jan. 4, while the auto club measures a shorter travel span from Dec. 23 to Jan. 1.

A power outage at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport disrupted flights nationwide this past weekend, but Delta Air Lines, the major carrier serving that hub, said late Monday that its operations were “nearly back to normal.”

Those who plan to fly in or out of LaGuardia Airport are being warned that the major reconstruction of the facility will mean longer delays than usual in getting to their terminals.

That should be especially true for roads leading to LaGuardia on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday — designated gridlock-alert days by New York City.

To encourage mass transit, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is offering free service from Thursday through Jan. 2 on its Q70 bus linking the airport with subway stations in Queens.

The increase in automobile travel, AAA said, comes despite relatively high gasoline prices — a national average of $2.45 a gallon, 24 cents more than last year.

“More expensive gas prices are not swaying holiday travel,” AAA senior vice president Bill Sutherland said in a news release.

“In fact, across the board this year, travel has increased year over year for every major holiday weekend . . . and we project the same for the year-end holiday period,” Sutherland said.

“We’ve seen the strong economy and growing consumer confidence fuel holiday travel all year long,” he said.

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