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60M taking to road, skies for Thanksgiving, AAA predicts

Transportation Security Administration members demonstrate the difference between food items that should be packed in checked bags and those that can go in carry-on bags during the Thanksgiving holiday travel season, on Monday, Nov. 20, 2017, at LaGuardia Airport. Credit: Newsday / Yeong-Ung Yang

Thanksgiving is the busiest travel period of the year and this season will be no different, with an estimated 50.9 million Americans heading out mainly by car, the auto group AAA projects.

That would be a 3.3 percent increase over last year’s holiday and the most since 2005, the auto club said.

“A strong economy, robust labor market, rising incomes and higher consumer confidence have led to a strong year for the travel industry, which continues into the holiday season,” Robert Sinclair Jr., manager of media relations for AAA Northeast, said in a statement.

The auto club defines the Thanksgiving holiday travel period as Wednesday through Sunday, and counts trips of at least 50 miles from home.

The vast majority of people, 89 percent, will travel by car, despite an increase in gasoline prices, AAA said.

The average price of a gallon of gas this holiday season is $2.56, an increase of 41 cents over last year, the group said.

About 28.5 million passengers will use domestic airlines during the period from Nov. 17 to Nov. 28, Airlines for America, an industry group, predicted.

That’s a 3 percent increase from the same period last year, the group said.

The busiest air travel day of the 2017 Thanksgiving travel period is projected to be this coming Sunday, with an estimated 2.88 million passengers, Airlines for America said.

Travelers using Kennedy and LaGuardia airports are advised to confirm their flights before leaving home, allow extra time for check-in and security screening and have their boarding pass and identification ready when approaching security checkpoints.

The Port Authority, which operates the two airports, noted that LaGuardia is in the midst of a massive reconstruction project.

Travelers using LaGuardia should plan additional travel time for getting to their terminal, should reserve and should consider using public transportation, the agency said.

On Wednesday, the Long Island Rail Road will add 12 eastbound early afternoon trains from Penn Station.

To encourage mass transit, the Q70 bus link to LaGuardia is free from Nov. 17 through Nov. 26, the PA said.

The Port Authority said it expected about 1.6 million passengers would use its four airports — LaGuardia, Kennedy, Newark Liberty and Stewart International — during the five-day holiday weekend.

The agency said it expected about 6 million travelers would use a Port Authority facility — an airport, bridge, tunnel or PATH tubes between Manhattan and New Jersey.

Temporary lane closures due to road and bridge construction projects on state highways will be suspended from 6 a.m. Wednesday until 6 a.m. Monday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Monday. However, some work may continue behind permanent concrete barriers or for emergency repairs.

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