Let the Madness begin

It’s time. The worst travel day of the year is upon us, the sun has risen and it’s time to get the shit kicked out of you at the airport. Have you got your passport? Did you sleep well last night?

Go through the rituals before you leave your house: passport and wallet, left pocket. Phone, right pocket. Laptop, charger, soap, jacket, headphones, book. Got a ride into the office and a ride to airport at lunch. Head to the airport empowered, take the bull by the horns and charge straight into the chaos with no fear.

You’ve got a great flight, great weather and great family and friends to binge on this weekend, so leave your stress at the door, get to the airport early and revel in the true beauty of travel, people moving, talking, sliding, shifting into new places and new times, the science and flow of departures and arrivals.

Every single one of us at Gadling will be out there with you, somewhere in the terminal or on the road, waiting in lines, collecting data, drinking sake at the airport bar, occupying the lav. We’ll be with you all of the way. We promise.

It’s going to be a great weekend. Safe travels to all of you,

<3 Gadling

Which Airlines Will Cut Flights for Thanksgiving? (And Which Won’t?)

If you’ve ever tried to fly on or around Thanksgiving, you would be inclined to agree that it is among the busiest travel times of the year. Unfortunately, this holiday season will kick off with most airlines cutting the number of flights they offer. This will lead to fuller planes, fewer options and, of course, higher fares. According to USAToday, the combined cuts will lead to an 11% overall drop from last years flights. That’s 2.5 million fewer seats than last year’s Thanksgiving season (between the 20th and 30th of November).

The biggest cutbacks come from USAirways, which will drop its service by 40% compared to last year. Delta will cut 26% of its flights. The only two major names bucking the trend are JetBlue and Southwest. JetBlue is upping its ante by 3% by the end of the month, while Southwest is planning 15 new flights for the same period. Still, these increases are quite modest when compared to the substantial cuts in the industry. The bottom line: Thanksgiving season travelers who haven’t booked their flight yet are in for higher prices and fewer options.

Many Americans leaving America for Thanksgiving

Europe, not Grandma’s, is the big destination for Americans traveling over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Reuters reports that “vacation starved” U.S. citizens are using this holiday as an opportunity to visit Europe and other destinations. Although Thanksgiving break is usually only a four-day weekend, workers can tack on a few extra leave days and get a full 10-day vacation, plenty of time for a transatlantic flight and to adjust to jet lag. Yes, the dollar is weak, but many bookings were made several months ago when the dollar was doing much better. Plus, the high number of overseas travelers “reflects the resiliency of U.S. consumers to shrug off a housing crisis, signs of a slowing economy, and the weak dollar.” I’ll say.

While Western-Europe bookings are up over 9 percent, Eastern European destinations saw the largest increase —
nearly 25 percent! This surge is likely due to the better exchange rate for dollars in Eastern Europe.

As for me, it’ll be turkey and cocktails in Alaska, as usual.

Flying on the Busiest Day of the Year

Adrienne WilsonPhiladelphia watch out! I’m going to be famous! Okay, not really famous, but maybe famous for thirty seconds or so… After shuffling off my flight from Tampa, FL, I made way down to baggage claim where I noticed the news folks out and about with their cameras ready to make some news. First they nabbed a mother of one (easy target) and probed her on today’s flying situation. Being a mother of what looked to be a well behaved child I imagine she still had some minor complaints, but that’s just my thinking negatively. Perhaps all went well, maybe TSA didn’t give her any grief – what do I know? Anyhow, almost immediately after I ended my phone call I became prey to Philly’s Channel 6 News crew.

First they kindly asked for my name which I thought Adrienne was enough, but apparently the full government name was in need so I disclosed my last name, but only after requesting some I.D. (I kid.) Once the formal introductions were said and done it was time to spill the beans. They asked what flying on the busiest day of the year was like and my summary went something like this:

Adrienne: Um, well flying out of Tampa wasn’t that bad. The security lines were a little longer than any other day, but they were handing out the little plastic baggies and all went smoothly.

News Reporter:
(Laughs) So the little baggies helped? Everything was operating well?

Adrienne: Coming out of Tampa, FL I’d say so…

New Reporter: Well that’s great! Thank you for your time.

Exciting stuff, eh? In all honesty that’s the way things went for me this morning. I got there a bit early, waited in line, played the dress-up game with security, took out my lap-top and wished all happy holidays. I did without any liquids, gels and other suspicious items this time so I didn’t even need the free plastic baggies they were passing out. Sigh… Now I assume there will be similar stories to mine, but was flying for anyone else pure hell today? In the event you didn’t get interviewed by the local news crew consider this an exclusive opportunity from Gadling to share your comments, rants, complaints or fuzzy feelings about flying during the holidays!

This is Adrienne Wilson reporting from the Philadelphia International Airport.