This holiday season, millions will be taking to the sky to visit friends, family and get a slice of homemade pumpkin pie. In December of 2017 51 million passengers hopped on-board flights across the country, producing a 3.5% increase from December of 2016. 1 According to data from the Detroit Metropolitan Airport summary of 2017, December of 2017 alone had over 2.6 million passengers flying out both domestically and internationally.2
Not only are many travelers taking to the sky out of busy hubs across the U.S., but also out of regional airports around Michigan. MBS, an AIAM member, sees a surge of travelers throughout the winter holidays. Unlike larger airports, regional airports are able to provide worthwhile amenities, like shorter driving distances and less crowded, more affordable parking options. Jeff Nagel, airport manager of MBS, added that there is much more ease going through TSA at these smaller airports. In addition, Nagel added he always hears about how friendly their local TSA staff is. Overall, Nagel said that “everyone here is dedicated to offer a nice customer-friendly experience”.
Another AIAM member, Capital Region International Airport (LAN), has seen a steady flow of passengers heading into the holiday season with an increase beginning in October. Their UPS Cargo operations have also seen an increase of just over 20%. Their various destinations include Detroit, Chicago, Minneapolis and Washington D.C., making it possible for travelers to fly both domestically and internationally throughout the holiday season. Chief executive officer of LAN, Wayne Sieloff, added “LAN is focused on making travel quick, easy, and convenient for our passengers. With short lines, TSA precheck, and new amenities coming to the airport, LAN is a great place to start your air travels for both business and pleasure.”
Despite the occurrence of delays during the winter months, travelers are more likely to hit a snag in their plans by taking to the road for their long journeys. Luckily, regional airports offer a closeness factor that often reduces longer travel time to large airports, making these short journeys safer. This is important to note, as, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 17% of all vehicle crashes in the United States occur under winter weather conditions.3
Air travel now accounts for 5.9% of all travel 4across the U.S. as a result of the hard work of everyone from the engineers to hard-working laborers prepping planes for takeoff in below freezing conditions. Airlines for America has taken action in tandem with member airlines, various government organizations, aircraft manufacturers and laborers, and are working to “provide a safe and efficient travel experience”, creating the “safest period in aviation history”.5 Even though long travel days and the occasional delay can throw a wrench in festivities, keep in mind how much effort has gone into creating the thriving economy for air travel as well as keeping you safe from extreme conditions this holiday season.