Holiday weekend travel expected to jump to pre-pandemic levels
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - With Memorial Day weekend kicking off the unofficial start to the summer, those traveling can expect lots of traffic, whether on the road or in the air.
Officials at the South Bend International Airport shared with 16 News that they expect every flight coming in and going out of South Bend to be full.
That’s why the airport has suggested that flyers get to the airport 90 minutes to 2 hours early so they don’t miss their flight.
“It’s just. . . everyone should pack their patience, check your flight status, and arrive early,” said SBN Spokesperson Julie Curtis.
If you’re traveling by car, you can anticipate some delays, as traffic levels will be heavier than they’ve been in several years.
AAA reports that more than 42 million travelers will take to the road this holiday weekend.
“I think we’re set up to have a fantastic weekend with the weather and with all of the good fun things happening in the area, and it just takes us making a couple small choices at pivotal moments, and we’ll get through this, and get summer kicked off in the best way that we can,” said Sgt. Ted Bohner, with the Indiana State Police.
According to Sgt. Bohner, the busiest travel days this weekend are expected to be Friday and Sunday, so it’s advised to hit the road early to avoid traffic.
It’s the first Memorial Day since the COVID emergency has been lifted, part of what’s driving millions of Americans to travel this weekend.
AAA tells us that nearly three and a half million Americans will be in the air this weekend, and 37 million more will be down on the ground, driving our highways and interstates.
“We’re coming from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and we’re going to Syracuse, Indiana,” says Sophia Schroeder. “And we don’t really have any specific plans for the weekend, just family time and hanging out. I’m a swimmer and like to swim a lot, so going to the lake is definitely a plus.”
“I like to fish,” says Harry Schroeder.
This is shaping up to be the heaviest traveling Memorial Day weekend since before the pandemic.
“Spending time together (this weekend), this is our first long trip together, so just wanted to make some memories on the road,” says Holiday Travelers Bhasker Nalla and Snigdha Martha.
Airport officials say arriving early is the best way to avoid vacation misfortune.
“One of the great benefits of flying from a smaller airport like South Bend is that even when we have full planes, we still don’t have the long lines you’re going to see at the larger hubs, but we still do recommend people get here (between) that 90 minutes to two hours window, and that’s for, especially a lot of families are traveling, and maybe they don’t travel that frequently, and so allowing them to have that extra amount of time so that you’re not putting that undue stress on yourself because nobody wants to miss their flight at the start of your vacation,” says Julie Curtis, Vice President of Marketing at the South Bend International Airport (SBN).
Fuel prices are down compared to last year, prompting more Americans to hop on the road.
Bus and train travel is also expected to see more travelers compared to 2022.
Regardless of your method of travel, WNDU wishes you and your family a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend.
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