On Friday, I quoted Michael Boyd’s comments about why President Bush’s big announcement about opening up military-only fly-zones to ease the holiday travel crunch would not help lessen congestion in the air and was thus little more than bogus pandering.
Today, USA Today backs that up with analysis that shows that, “Airports are crowded and hectic this time of year, but much of the perception about holiday air travel is wrong.” The report shows that air travel around Christmas and New Year’s didn’t even crack last year’s top 20 busiest days, adding, “The bottom line: taking a flight on virtually any Thursday or Friday during the summer is worse. Seats are just as packed, there are more flights, and there is a greater likelihood of being delayed, due primarily to thunderstorms and volume.”
It also says that the day before Thanksgiving — which is always referred to as “the busiest travel day of the year” — actually ranked 36th. That doesn’t include people on the roads, but it should put an end to the oft-repeated lie.
I say “should” because I see very little chance that my colleagues in the news media will bother pointing this out. Instead, they will continue spewing the traditional pablum about busy holiday travel, just as they do with “Black Friday” (which is not the busiest shopping day of the year) and “Cyber Monday” (ditto for online shopping).
So what is the busiest holiday for travel? According to USA Today, it’s the Friday before Labor Day, which is still only the 14th busiest day of the year.