CHARLOTTE, NC: Just like winter snowstorms and summer hurricanes, it’s a sure bet that television news will be ensconced at airports around the country on Wednesday to give us updates on the nightmares of Thanksgiving travel.The good news is that Thanksgiving is becoming, if it’s not already, the most popular holiday of the year; four days off, no gifts to buy, plenty of football, the inevitable post-turkey naps and time to share with family and friends. And that roasted turkey.
That said, the bad news is the horror of traveling to get there. No longer is it simply a matter of going “over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house.” Instead, there is an infinite number of ways that families are trying to avoid long lines at airports and highway traffic.
Peak Holiday Travel Expected
This year analysts are not only predicting the worst peak holiday travel in history, they are also reporting that the highest travel period could be the longest ever as well.
“Black Friday” has evolved into “Black & Blue Thanksgiving Week.” Turkeys now have a better chance at surviving Thanksgiving than people.
According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), there will be a seven percent increase in the number of flyers over last year. That totals a whopping 25 million travelers in the air.
No matter how you figure it, the security lines are going to be like an episode of The Twilight Zone.
Starting holiday travel early
One solution has been starting the holiday a week early, which is fine until everyone else does the same thing making lines long for more days than ever before.
Airport traffic is further complicated by the fact that there is more congestion due to popular weekend travel times combined with unpredictable weather in the northeast and midwest.
Voila! It’s as predictable as reporters picking up snow in a blizzard to tell us it’s cold. Or weathermen flying horizontally in the winds of a hurricane while holding on to a flagpole to let us know it is breezy.
The challenges of holiday air travel
Reporters will be at ticket counters and security lines in airports around the counter. Their cameras showing us the hoards of unfortunate now homeless travelers. And those who spend an entire week sleeping at the airport. It’s as guaranteed as taxes.
Truth is television stations could show file footage from previous years and no one will tell the difference.
Perhaps the worst thing to frustrate passengers is what is acceptable and what is not allowed as a carry-on. If you bring a beautiful gift wrapped present and the X-ray goes off, prepare for an added delay while the TSA delicately, or not, unwraps your gift to check its contents.
Just be sure you have several bodyguards with you to protect you from airport vigilantes who will happily lynch you once you have cleared security.
Will your Grandmother’s gravy clear TSA?
Hot Air tells us “you can carry aboard turkey and stuffing, pies and cakes because they are considered solids. You cannot, however, bring mashed potatoes and gravy, which are the best parts, despite being considered liquids.”
Dry yams are passable as a carry-on item. But if they are wet and liquid, that means they must be packed in your checked luggage. What if they are still in the can? We all remember that liquid yam bomber several Thanksgivings ago, don’t we?
We’re not sure about mashed potatoes as yet but we will provide an update as soon as we get the official word. That also includes mashed potatoes with peas which may or may not be allowed in overhead bins.
The clogged highways and byways
Expect highway traffic to be equally bad. Allow at least a month in advance to begin. Just kidding. What with accidents and construction sites, the interstates will also be as congested as airports which will no doubt lead to countless road rage incidents and multi-car crashes.
When all is said and done, why does anyone challenge the malls on Black Friday? Particularly after battling airline and automobile “mauls” on Wednesday in order to arrive in time to carve the turkey on Thursday.
Perhaps the greatest gift a turkey supposedly offers during the holiday is that blessed amino acid known as “tryptophan” which has been said to make you sleepy. And off the roads, out of the airports and safe at home. Unfortunately, tryptophan has since been proven to be a myth in Thanksgiving folklore with three other post-meal factors being more likely snooze-inducing culprits; fats, alcohol, and overeating.
In the end, it matters little what the cause for a nap is so long as pre-holiday tension subsides before giving way to post-holiday shopping and the inevitable return-to-work apprehension.
Holiday travel is for the birds or who says Turkey’s don’t fly
Since the Golden Age of travel, flying has become more tedious rather than glamorous. Driving can be exhausting. Thus, the adventure of “getting there” is far more of a hassle than ever before.
So, despite the popularity of Thanksgiving as a holiday, it is really travel’s way of “giving us all the bird.”
About the Author:
Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who has traveled throughout the world. Taylor was an award winning television producer/reporter/anchor before focusing on writing about international events, people and cultures around the globe.
Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
Editors Note: Support Bob’s GoFundMe to give him a hand up
Lead Image: By Grendelkhan – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=56378036