Travelers are ready for the holidays; Buffalo airport prepares for peak day
By AAA of Western and Central New York
If you’re traveling for the holidays this year, you’re in good company! Expect to see more travelers than ever on the roads and in the air this season. Nationally, AAA’s projection of 115.6 million year-end holiday travelers will set a new record and cap off a busy travel year. With Christmas and New Year’s Day falling on Wednesdays, in the middle of the week, higher than normal travel volume is expected all week and on the weekends.
Locally, the Buffalo Niagara International Airport expects holiday travelers to get started a bit early. “Our busiest day is expected to be Friday, Dec. 20,” said Helen Tederous, NFTA director of public affairs, who also shared peak times for travelers to be aware of. “Our busiest times for departures are 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.”
During those times, travelers should arrive especially early and be prepared for longer than usual security lines. If you’re traveling with gifts, check with TSA (https://www.tsa.gov/travel/travel-tips) for information on how to pack them.
When it comes to air travel, Carol DiOrio, AAA vice president of travel, reminded travelers to give themselves plenty of extra time.
“Airports across the country, including Western and Central New York, are expected to be very busy over the holidays,” she said. “Travelers should check their flight status with airlines directly, online or via an app, and plan to arrive at least 90 minutes before their flight.”
When it comes to arrivals, Tederous said peak times are 3-6 p.m. and 10 p.m. to midnight, so motorists who are picking up loved ones at the airport should be prepared and utilize the airport’s free cell phone lot.
As is the case with most holidays, the majority of travelers will drive to their destinations.
Steve Finch, AAA senior vice president of automotive services, has advice for those taking road trips.
“The most common calls to AAA are for flat tires, dead batteries and keys locked in the vehicle,” he explained. “Having your vehicle serviced by a AAA Approved Auto Repair facility, before the trip, can go a long way in preventing common roadside breakdowns.”
AAA Western and Central New York responds to more than 1,200 calls on an average December day. Finch encouraged motorists to pack a safety kit to keep in their vehicle with jumper cables, a cell phone charger, snacks and a blanket in case of a breakdown in poor weather.
However you choose to travel this season, be safe and prepared!
As upstate New York’s largest member services organization, AAA provides more than 885,000 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.