Memorial Day travel update: Illinois and nationwide
CHICAGO - The Illinois Department of Transportation has announced the suspension of construction work throughout the long holiday weekend and the reopening of lanes wherever possible.
In Illinois alone, more than two million residents are expected to travel at least 50 miles by cars, planes, and other means.
On a national scale, AAA predicts a staggering 42 million travelers across the United States.
Officials say Friday would be the busiest day at Midway Airport. When compared to last Memorial Day, airlines at Midway are anticipating a significant 20 percent surge in passenger loads.
Thursday was the travel rush at O'Hare Airport.
Good news, though, flight boards at both airports show minimal delays and cancelations.
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An estimated three million Americans are projected to fly this weekend, marking an eleven percent increase from the previous year. This figure surpasses pre-pandemic levels, reflecting a remarkable 170,000 additional passengers compared to 2019.
Despite the high ticket prices, the demand for air travel remains unabated.
AAA reports that this Memorial Day weekend could witness the busiest airport activity since 2005.
As of Friday afternoon, FlightAware, a flight data tracking service, recorded approximately 2,500 delayed flights and only 81 cancelations across the country.
"The outlook is going to be huge, not only for Memorial Day weekend but for this summer. We are definitely back to 2019 pre-pandemic levels," said Kathleen Bangs, spokesperson for FlightAware. "So far today, fingers crossed things are looking really well. It's going to be fairly stable air masses across the entire continental United States over Memorial Day weekend."
While adverse weather conditions primarily in the Southeast may impact flights, the remaining 37 million individuals traveling will opt for driving to their destinations. Additionally, a greater number of people than ever are expected to utilize public transportation for their holiday travels.
The airports experiencing the most delays include JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark in the New York area, as well as Orlando, Miami, and Denver airports.