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Thanksgiving travelers in BCS describe busy day at the airport and on the freeways

Experiences of those KBTX spoke to lines up with holiday travel projections made by AAA Texas
Published: Nov. 24, 2021 at 11:00 PM CST
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - According to AAA Texas, over 54 million Americans are on the move for Thanksgiving this year, and 90% of those travelers are expected to take their car.

Roughly the same proportion of Texans are getting behind the wheel to reach their Turkey Day destinations, and yet the airports are still busy too.

AAA Texas projects nearly 4 million Texans will travel for Thanksgiving this year. While only a small percentage of them will be flying (AAA estimates 230,000), security officials at Easterwood Airport say their flights have been full all week nonetheless. One traveler who is on her way to Pensacola, Florida says she was worried about reserving her spot.

“There was some thought that I might not be able to get a flight just because Thanksgiving is so big, since a lot of people are probably flying out of College Station,” Texas A&M junior Es Land said. “I thought maybe I wouldn’t be able to find a flight, but thankfully I can go back.”

According to AAA, 92% of traveling Texans are taking their car. Among them is Jeff Masterson, an Aggie who now lives in Lake Jackson. He’s on his way to Dallas-Fort Worth with his wife to spend Thanksgiving with her family. He says the traffic on the freeways is proof of that, and he believes it’s worse than it usually is on what’s usually the busiest travel day of the year.

“We did see a lot of traffic coming up here. It looks like everybody’s back on the roads. Even for Thanksgiving, it seemed like a lot more people were traveling for the holiday,” Masterson said. “It was a lot more adventurous.”

Mechanics are seeing evidence of this, too. CarDoc Automotive Service Advisor Aaron Loveless says their car count is over 20% higher than it was this week of last year.

“Everybody’s driving this year,” Loveless said. “Many people are just trying to get ready to go home and see their family. A lot of people didn’t go see family last year.”

Masterson says he was also among those who took their vehicles in for a tune up before hitting the road.

“We got it detailed, actually changed the brakes on it this morning and got it oiled last night, just to make sure everything is up to speed to drive,” Masterson said. “I’m very confident in my car right now.”

Nationwide, AAA projects about a 13% increase in total travelers over last year. Based on the numbers, it appears people are now much more confident flying. They’re estimating Thanksgiving air travel will be 80% higher than it was in 2020, as opposed to only 8% higher on the roads.

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