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Global Holiday Travel Soars  

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Around the world, people are on the move as the Christmas and New Year travel seasons are in full swing. December and he January are among the busiest months in the global aviation industry, with this year expected to see the highest number of passengers since travel restrictions were imposed due to the pandemic.

Laila Singh of Aldy, Virginia told VOA, “I visited my relatives for the first time in three years. She arrived at Dulles International Airport outside of Washington almost four hours before her flight to New Delhi. “So many people traveling and so few airline staff means you really have to be patient.”

As with other countries, air travel to and from India has increased since COVID-19 restrictions were eased.

“I was going to travel abroad in March to avoid the crowds, but I wanted to meet my family when they got together,” Singh said.

Elsewhere in Asia, tens of millions of people travel by air, road and rail. China expects surge in domestic travel after easing COVID-zero pandemic control measures in early December.

The government has removed a number of requirements, including frequent virus testing and relaxing quarantine rules. The move comes as China prepares for its Lunar New Year celebrations in January, China’s busiest travel season.

Passengers line up to go through security at Detroit Metro Airport in Romulus, Michigan, December 22, 2022. Forecasts of a severe winter storm threatened to wreak havoc on vacation travel plans for millions of Americans.

Passengers line up to go through security at Detroit Metro Airport in Romulus, Michigan, December 22, 2022. Forecasts of a severe winter storm threatened to wreak havoc on vacation travel plans for millions of Americans.

economic boost

Analysts believe the surge in vacations will help China’s struggling economy. China’s state media quoted Chen Linan, a spokesman for China-based online travel site Ctrip, saying, “The increase in travel during New Year’s Day and the Lunar New Year period is a big deal for China’s tourism sector. “It could be the biggest turning point of the year.”

In Europe, travel experts predict the busiest Christmas travel season in years after prolonged disruptions caused by COVID-19 lockdowns.

“Demand for Christmas travel is strong, with ticket revenue up 18%,” EasyJet CEO Johan Lundgren told Reuters. The company also expects more passengers to fly in the first half of 2023.

London’s Heathrow Airport has lifted its 100,000 passenger limit per day to avoid major disruptions at the end of October, and said it would not limit passenger numbers during peak travel times at Christmas.

Industry observers continue to warn travelers to prepare for potential labor disputes by transport workers and staff shortages at European airports and train stations that could result in cancellations. Two of Air France’s flight attendant unions, which failed to reach a contract agreement last October, have applied since Thursday to go on strike at any time until January 2. Or be late.

An electronic board showing flight delays and cancellations at United Airlines Terminal 1 at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport on December 22, 2022.

An electronic board showing flight delays and cancellations at United Airlines Terminal 1 at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport on December 22, 2022.

american holiday travel

More than 112 million Americans will travel during the Christmas and New Year holidays, according to travel services company AAA. Of those, more than 7 million fly.

“I’m glad I got to fly to Atlanta before the weather hits,” said Washington resident Todd Branson, who booked a flight just days before the Christmas holidays. “The closer Christmas gets, the more likely it is that you won’t make it to your destination.”

According to the AAA, 2022 is likely to be the third-highest year for U.S. holiday travel since it began tracking figures in 2000.

Worries that holiday travel could get worse have increased as weather forecasters predicted disruptions caused by severe winter storms affecting 180 million people in 40 states. The storm has resulted in dangerous road conditions and thousands of flights have been cancelled.

“I’m a little nervous getting there because there’s snow waiting for me in Kansas City, but I think we’ll beat it, so we’ll be fine,” said Lindsay Bitfield, who was on a flight from New York City. WABC-TV.

A major airline hub, Chicago is gearing up for high winds, sub-zero temperatures and 30 centimeters of snow before Christmas.

Karen Pryde, Director of Media Relations, Chicago Aviation Authority, said: “He has 350 snow blowers ready to clear the runway and around the airport.”

In anticipation of the storm, airlines rerouted flights and issued weather exemptions that allowed passengers to reschedule flights without incurring fees.

“I keep my fingers crossed,” said Branson. “We hope travel headaches don’t ruin your enjoyment of the season.”

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