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Memorial Day Weekend Is More likely to See Americans Travel, Despite COVID-19

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Coronavirus cases are surging, gas prices keep hitting record highs and warmth waves and storms are forecast for a lot of parts of america. But hundreds of thousands of Americans are still expected to take to the skies and roads this Memorial Day weekend, in what’s more likely to be one in every of the busiest travel periods for the reason that start of the pandemic.

About 39.2 million Americans plan to travel over the long weekend and most shall be traveling by road, in response to estimates by AAA, the auto owners group. This holiday weekend’s travel volume, expected to extend 8.3 percent from 36.2 million who traveled over the identical weekend in 2021, is inching closer to prepandemic travel figures, said the AAA spokeswoman Ellen Edmonds.

“We imagine that is because of pent-up demand from the last two years when many individuals selected to not travel,” Ms. Edmonds said.

Americans are hitting the road in big numbers, despite a gradual surge in coronavirus cases. Over the past week, a median of 110,000 coronavirus cases has been reported every day in america as of Thursday, a rise of 26 percent from two weeks ago, in response to a Recent York Times database. Hospitalizations are up 29 percent over the past two weeks, to roughly 26,100 per day, and latest deaths have been at a median of fewer than 400 a day over the past two weeks.

Paula Twidale, a senior vice chairman of travel at AAA, said that Memorial Day was a reliable indicator of the summer season.

“Based on our projections, summer travel isn’t just heating up, it’s going to be on fire,” Ms. Twidale said in a press release.

But a severe weather forecast for the weekend could embroil travel plans. Parts of the Southwest are under elevated fire warnings, currently experiencing a dangerous combination of low humidity, warm temperatures and forceful winds.

From Friday through Sunday, showers and thunderstorms are anticipated across much of the country — including the Northeast, the Southeast, the Gulf Coast and the Pacific Northwest — potentially bringing flash floods, hail and powerful wind gusts, in response to the National Weather Service.

Air travel this yr has briskly outpaced passenger levels from last yr, in response to data from the Transportation Security Administration. The country’s busiest airports are bracing for a swell of shoppers this weekend, which combined with the inclement weather and ongoing staffing woes, could mean overbooked flights and long lines at check-in counters and airport restaurants.

Some airlines are taking precautions early. Delta Air Lines has issued a travel waiver between May 26 and 28, allowing travelers affected by adversarial weather conditions forecast in parts of the country to rebook flights without paying the fare difference.

This comes after Delta and other airlines, including JetBlue Airways and Spirit Airlines, preemptively reduced their summer flight schedules to assist handle operational obstacles. On Thursday, Delta announced that it might be cutting about 100 each day flights starting on July 1 to “construct additional resilience” in its schedule, in response to a press release.

Air travel has been removed from smooth this yr. Passengers have grappled with scores of delayed and canceled flights, rising ticket prices, airplane fuel shortages and ever-changing travel requirements, including mask mandates.

Travel experts suggested heading to the airport early and securing travel insurance.

“Air travel has faced several challenges for the reason that starting of the yr,” Ms. Twidale said. “With the form of volume we anticipate, we proceed to recommend the protection net of a travel agent and travel insurance. Each are a lifesaver if something unexpectedly derails your travel plans.”

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