Estimates: More favor driving this holiday

ATLANTA — The number of travelers expected to fly a domestic airline this Thanksgiving is expected to decline by 2 percent compared to last year, according to an estimate from the Air Transport Association of America (ATA).

“While demand is down from last year and remains well below the 2006 peak, passengers still should expect full flights during the Thanksgiving holiday travel season as  airlines have begun to reduce capacity and limit the number of seats available for sale due in part to rising cost pressures,” ATA Vice President and Chief Economist John Heimlich said in a news release. “Based on published airline schedules, these cuts are expected to continue through the winter.”

Nationwide, the number of travelers this holiday is projected to increase by 4 percent, the organization predicts, and those hitting the road will account for approximately 90 percent of all travelers this holiday, AAA predicts. The organization sees a 4 percent increase in the number of auto travelers and a 1.8 percent increase in the number of fliers.

In Georgia, the number of travelers driving this holiday is expected to increase by 3.3 percent, while air travel is expected to rise by 1.2 percent. Others means of transportation — such as by bus or by rail — is projected to see a 14 percent increase.

“We are excited to welcome another holiday season and are well-prepared to get passengers to their destinations,” Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport Aviation General Manager Louis Miller said in a news release.

Many fliers, at least as of late, have grown frustrated with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the federal agency created in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.According to a recent survey by the U.S. Travel Association, 72.4 percent said “people who bring too many carry-on bags through the security checkpoint” was their top frustration with avaition security while 68 percent selected “the wait time to clear the TSA checkpoint.”

The federal agency has its share of detractors in Congress as well.  Republicans on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee issued a scathing report of the federal agency, saying the TSA suffers from mismanagement and should be drastically overhauled.

“Instead of worrying about ‘political correctness’, TSA should be putting our resources into intelligence and technologies that could be more effective when it comes to catching highly elusive and dangerous terrorists,” U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga., said in a recent news release. “We should know about terrorist attacks before they materialize on U.S. soil, and I have yet to see that kind of progress come out of TSA.”

The ATA’s estimate covers Nov. 18-29 while the AAA estimate covers Nov. 23-27.

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