Gas prices may be rising, but travel is breaking records
By AAA Western and Central New York
Expect to see more travelers than ever on the road and in the air this holiday season. The number of people visiting families and friends this season is expected to break records and cap off a busy year for travel. With Christmas and New Year's Day falling on Sundays, higher-than-normal travel volume is likely on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. Travelers will also notice busy roads and airports at the end of this workweek, especially Friday, Dec. 23.
To keep travelers informed, AAA Western and Central New York (AAA WCNY) spoke with officials at Buffalo-Niagara International Airport and Greater Rochester International Airport to get an update on local air travel trends.
C. Douglas Hartmayer, director of public affairs for the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA), said it's going to be a strong season for travel at the Buffalo-Niagara International Airport, with Friday and Saturday being the busiest.
"This week's volume at the airport will be heavier than normal, with the peak days being the last few before the holiday. Travelers should arrive approximately 90 minutes prior to departure and have properly prepared their carry-on bags to ensure there are no prohibited items inside, and have followed the 3-1-1 regulations for carrying toiletries on board," Hartmayer said.
He expects upward of 13,000 passengers to pass through the terminal each day - totaling nearly 96,000 for the week.
Jennifer Hanrahan, assistant director and marketing/public relations at Greater Rochester International Airport, expects air travel in Rochester to be strong, as well, and advises travelers to give themselves plenty of time.
"We're urging travelers to arrive at least 90 minutes ahead of their scheduled departure time," she said. "Especially those with early morning flights between 4:30 a.m. and 8 a.m., when many flights depart ROC."
Hanrahan also advised those flying to check with the TSA for information on how to pack holiday gifts - you don't want to get stuck in security with a present that's not allowed! Also, limit the amount of jewelry you wear and have your I.D. and boarding pass handy.
The majority of travelers will drive to their destinations. If you're hitting the road to get to grandma's house this week, you might notice that gas prices are up a few cents - but still much cheaper than years past. The national average is $2.24, while the New York state average is $2.43. Last year on this day, the state average was $2.27 and, in 2014, it was $2.92. The Buffalo average is $2.38; Rochester $2.37; Rome $2.40; and Syracuse $2.34, according to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report as of Dec. 19. Find up-to-date prices online at http://gasprices.aaa.com/.
However you choose to travel this season, be safe and prepared! We've already had our fair share of snow for the season and you never know when there will be more.
As upstate New York's largest member services organization, AAA provides nearly 860,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1900, AAA has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Visit AAA at www.AAA.com.