Oregonians are hitting the road and the air in record numbers this holiday season.
At Redmond Airport, November is expected to break passenger records, said Zach Bass, Redmond Airport director. With nearly 30 flights a day leaving the airport, passengers traveling on Wednesday should expect long lines during the security screening, especially for the early morning flights, Bass said.
“We’re equipped to handle this, and we’ve seen more than the 83,000 passengers we’re expecting, but there are specific days in November that will be busier,” Bass said. “It’s our understanding that Thanksgiving will be a record year for travel.”
According to AAA, this Thanksgiving will have the highest traffic volume since 2005. More than 55 million people will travel nationally. About 748,000 Oregonians are expected to travel this Thanksgiving, said Marie Dodds, AAA Oregon and Idaho director of public affairs.
At Redmond, the busiest time will be from 5:30 to 7 a.m.Wednesday, Bass said. Officials recommend travelers pack patience and fold extra time into their travel to accommodate crowds.
“The economy is providing for a strong travel season,” Dodds said. “The bottom line is people are feeling good about spending money on travel. We tend to see that when we have a healthy economy.
While the majority of Thanksgiving travelers drive to their destinations, air travel nationwide is seeing the biggest bump with 4.6% more travelers compared to last year. Good thing Central Oregon travelers have Redmond Airport and not Chicago’s O’Hare International, which has the most disrupted travel from bad weather, overbookings and delays, according to Airhelp, a passenger rights company.
As a feeder airport, Redmond is poised to break a million passengers this calendar year, Bass said.
“We outgrew our expectations five years ago,” said Bass. “The fast growth of the region has made for the growth here. But we provide our customers something they can’t get elsewhere: the small-town feel of the airport that customers like.”
For travelers who have not booked their flights, Getaways Travel in Bend says you should have planned ahead.
“Anyone who wants to go travel on the holidays booked a while ago,” said Bernie Reumann, Getaways Travel owner. “If you don’t book a ways out, you won’t get on a plane.”