Holiday travel predicted to be heavy; Midwest blizzard in forecast
BY D.R. STEWART World Staff Writer
Thursday, December 20, 2012
12/20/12 at 2:33 AM
One of 2012's busiest travel periods begins Thursday and is expected to remain hectic through Jan. 2, airport and industry executives said.
At Tulsa International Airport, airlines are forecasting planes will be near capacity Thursday through Monday, airport officials said.
"Our reports from the airlines are that the busiest days will be Thursday and Friday," said Daniel Meier, coordinator of air service & business development at Tulsa International Airport. "It probably will be fairly busy Saturday and Sunday. We are advising passengers flying out between 5:45 a.m. and 7 a.m. Thursday through Sunday should arrive two hours prior to their flight."
In recent years, Tulsa passengers have been advised to arrive at the airport 90 minutes before their flight's departure.
Passengers in Tulsa whose flights depart after 7 a.m. are still advised to arrive at the airport 90 minutes prior to departure, airport officials said.
Complicating travel plans for thousands of Christmas travelers is the forecast of a Midwest blizzard in the states of Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan, airline executives said.
American Airlines and Delta Air Lines are offering passengers options to change their travel plans without penalties.
American said on Wednesday that passengers ticketed on American, American Eagle or AmericanConnection flights on Thursday and Friday and whose ticket was issued no later than Wednesday may have their ticket reissued without a change fee for one ticket change provided their flight is to, from or through the following cities: Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Chicago; Des Moines, Iowa; Dubuque, Iowa; Grand Island, Neb.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Green Bay, Wis.; La Crosse, Wis.; Madison, Wis.; Manhattan, Kan.; Marquette, Mich.; Milwaukee, Wis.; Moline, Ill.; Omaha, Neb.; Rochester, Minn.; Sioux City, Iowa; Traverse City, Mich.; Waterloo, Iowa; Wausau, Wis., and Wichita, Kan.
To change travel dates, contact American reservations at 1-(800)-433-7300.
Delta said passengers should consider departing earlier, postponing or re-routing their travel to avoid possible flight delays and cancellations. Passengers may make one-time changes to their travel schedules without incurring fees, Delta officials said.
Customers booked on Delta-ticketed flights to, from or through airports in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska and Wisconsin between Wednesday and Friday may rebook for travel with the same origin and destination, Delta officials said. New flights may occur before or after original travel dates as long as they are ticketed and rescheduled for travel on or before Dec. 28.
Passengers may make changes to their travel plans on Delta's website or by using the Fly Delta app.
Airlines for America, the industry trade group, is predicting nearly 42 million passengers will fly between Monday, Dec. 17, and Sunday, Jan. 6.
Planes are expected to be about 85 percent full over the holiday period, and the busiest days could reach 90 percent, the trade group said.
The busiest travel days are expected to be Friday through Sunday, the day after Christmas and Jan. 2.
"U.S. carriers are reporting strong bookings relative to capacity this winter holiday period," said Airlines for America Chief Economist John Heimlich. "This is a great time to travel, as carriers are staffed to accomodate the influx of holiday travelers and air fares remain a bargain, having significantly trailed U.S. inflation."
Christmas holiday travel tips
- Liquids and gels in
containers larger than 3.2
ounces should be packed in
- Liquids and gels in
containers 3.2 ounces and
smaller may be packed in
carry-on bags as long as the
containers are 3.2 ounces
or less; all containers must
fit into one quart-sized or
smaller zip-lock bag, and
passengers are limited to
- Travelers may carry on
board one bag that fits in
the overhead bin or under
the seat, plus one personal
item such as a purse, briefcase
- Valuables, including cameras,
prescription medicine and
car keys, should be placed
in carry-on luggage and
kept with the passenger at
- Suitcases should be
labeled on the exterior and
interior with the passenger’s
name and cell phone
- At the security checkpoint,
have their governmentissued
ID or passport
available with their boarding
pass; all shoes and jackets
must be removed and
screened; all laptops, portable
DVD players or large
electronic items must be
removed from their cases
and placed into their own
bin, and keys, cell phones,
pagers and loose change
should be placed in carry-on
Original Print Headline: Busy travel days
D.R. Stewart 918-581-8451
The holiday season's busiest travel days are expected to be Friday through Sunday, plus the day after Christmas and on Jan. 2. Bloomberg file