) — The peak of the holiday travel season is almost here, with more than 100 million Americans expected to travel 50 miles or more to try to reach their vacation destinations.
With a massive winter storm looming, threatening parts of the US with blizzard-like conditions and arctic temperatures, some travel plans are likely to go off the rails.
And for commuters from Los Angeles, there’s the added joy of construction traffic.
“I would say get here to get an early flight because I thought it would be better, but I don’t think it is. This is the first time I’ve flown this early and I’ve never seen it so crowded, Chloe Feldman, a commuter from Los Angeles, told NewsNation’s “Rush Hour” on Monday.
The Points Guy’s Clint Henderson joined NewsNation’s “Rush Hour” to discuss the overall impact he expects and where he thinks it will be felt the most.
“The timing is not good for the storm. It’s going to affect most of the country east of the Rocky Mountains. If you can, take an earlier flight home for the holidays,” Henderson said.
“Because, with travel the way it is right now, a major storm like this could have a pretty devastating ripple effect for travelers across the country,” Henderson continued.
To some, the crowds and traffic may seem inconsequential: On Sunday, a Hawaiian Airlines flight was hit by severe turbulence, injuring 35 passengers, 11 critically, in the process.
And while thunderstorms are a factor in that region, a wintry weather system is expected to bring even more significant travel problems in the East: in Buffalo and beyond into the southern and central US, snow is about to pile up later this week, and it will arrive with chillingly below-average temperatures.
Also, firearms have now become an airline holdup: There are a record 63,000 weapons intercepted at security checkpoints last year, up from 59,000 last year, the TSA reports.
“86% of the weapons that were detected last year were loaded. 86% So that means a lot of people tell us that, you know, they forgot they had their loaded gun with them. Interestingly, they seem to know where your keys are or where your mobile phone is. But not your deadly weapon,” TSA’s Lisa Farbstein said on “Rush Hour.”
Crowds of travelers are expected to grow throughout this week with a peak on Friday. LAX was the busiest in the country yesterday, with more than 103,000 passengers departing on flights.