Flying Home? Why Travelers Are Paying Big This Year

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REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

Braving the TSA body scanners to be home in time for turkey this Thanksgiving? You’ll be paying extra this year.

Airfare is up 59% this year for travel around this week’s holiday, according to USA Today, and things aren’t looking much better for Christmas travel either. reports airline ticket prices are up 40% from last year. But why the price hike? More Americans have decided to hit the road with Thanksgiving travelers up 5% from last year. “You have more people chasing relatively fewer seats, which has airlines’ cash registers ringing a holiday tune,” Rick Seaney, CEO of, told USA Today.

(More on NewsFeed: Airline Fees Up By 50% Since 2009)

On average, travelers are planning to spend $349 more this year, a 41% increase from last year, according to the USA Today story.”Just due to the economy improving, I think you’ll see more traveling this year,” Matthew Stone, assistant professor of hospitality and tourism at Prince George’s Community College in Largo, Md., told the newspaper. “Especially if you put it off last year because of the economy. I mean, you’ve got to get home sometime, right?”

And airline customers aren’t the only Thanksgiving travelers who can expect to pay more. Drivers will shell out about 25 cents more per gallon of gas, according to AAA, which reports the average cost per gallon is at $2.88 nationwide. Drivers are also more likely to pay for poor driving, as police enforcement is expected to rise just in time for holiday travel, given 94% of Thanksgiving travelers will go by car, the highest percentage of road travel since AAA began tracking travel trends. Some 42 million Americans will hit the nation’s highways this week, an 11.4% increase from last year.

(More on NewsFeed: Google To Offer In-Flight Wi-Fi For Holiday Flights)

The only group of travelers not expected to pay more this year are those going by train as Amtrak reports its Thanksgiving week fares are identical to 2009 prices, even with the rail company expecting its busiest travel week of the year. There’s some good news, at least. Too bad train routes are still scare for most of country.