AAA predicts that 47.9 million Americans will either hit the road or take a flight during Independence Day weekend, according to a June 21 news release.
The 3.7% increase from last year, close to the numbers seen in 2019, comes as gas prices have skyrocketed and airlines continue to struggle to recover from restrictions imposed throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The volume of travelers we expect to see over Independence Day is a definite sign that summer travel is kicking into high gear," said AAA Travel Vice President Paula Twidale.
"People are ready for a break, and despite things costing more, they are finding ways to still take that much-needed vacation."
Around 42 million of the 47.9 are reportedly planning to drive over the holiday weekend, at a time when gas prices are nearing $5.00 per gallon nationwide, according to the company's data.
In California specifically, gas prices were at an average of $6.318 on Monday. The highest in the Midwest was Illinois, at $5.435. In the North, New York was at $4.957, with the South by far the lowest, all states being around $4.50 per gallon.
Drivers should expect the most protracted travel delays heading into the weekend, particularly during the afternoons on Thursday, June 30, and Friday, July 1, The Hill reported.
Meanwhile, in the air cancellations continue to plague the industry as they suffer from a substantial pilot shortage, with U.S.-based airlines warning customers that service will be cut by 10% to 15% this summer.
The Federal Aviation Administration has pushed back on attempts by airlines to point the finger at them, emphasizing on Friday the amount of COVID relief the industry has received, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
"People expect when they buy an airline ticket that they'll get where they need to go safely, efficiently, reliably, and affordably," the agency said. "After receiving $54 billion in pandemic relief to help save the airlines from mass layoffs and bankruptcy, the American people deserve to have their expectations met."
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