Nothing brings people together like the holidays, which are historically the most high-traffic travel days of the year. This year, experts predict that travel volume will rebound to near pre-pandemic levels as families and friends reunite after months of separation and workers take advantage of their time off.
More than half of American adults plan to take a domestic vacation before the end of 2022, according to AAA, and airlines are reporting strong international bookings from travelers eager to go abroad after restrictions were lifted earlier this month. Travelers can expect security lines, terminals, and planes back at pre-pandemic volumes throughout the holiday season.
The potential for flight cancellations around the Thanksgiving holiday is high. Airline bookings for Thanksgiving week have exceeded pre-pandemic levels, according to data from the Adobe Digital Economy Index. On TripActions Lemonade, personal flight bookings for the week of Thanksgiving for 2021 have jumped 145% higher than they were in 2019.
As travelers prepare for a busy season, the potential for disruption remains. Weather forecasters are keeping a close eye on two active weather patterns in the days ahead of Thanksgiving that have the potential to snarl travel on the Wednesday before the holiday. Any potential disruptions during the heavy travel days could cascade down into wider network delays.
Adding to potential weather issues are staffing challenges that have surfaced at airlines and airports. In the event of flight cancellations, travelers may need to be prepared for long wait times at customer service counters and on call lines.
One factor working in favor of travelers this season is the suite of tools available to TripActions customers. Travelers booking leisure trips through TripActions Lemonade, the personal travel platform for TripActions, have access to free support that can quickly circumvent airport or call-center hold times.
Product capabilities of the TripActions platform have the potential to play a part in easing holiday travel. Earlier this week, TripActions announced Click-to-Accept Schedule Change, a new feature designed to streamline the rebooking process for airline-initiated changes to an itinerary. The feature ensures all TripActions users are well prepared for the unexpected; travelers are notified of major changes via email, text, or push notifications—often before the airline has the chance to communicate with them. Within the TripActions app, travelers can view their itineraries and tap to accept the carrier’s proposed alternate flight without the need to speak with a customer service agent, alleviating the burden on the entire air travel ecosystem.
To ensure all travelers make it home for the holidays safely and trouble-free, TripActions also rolled out four enhancements tailored just for families earlier this month, including the launch of support for a single (group) booking confirmation number. This feature helps families stay on the same itinerary in case of flight disruptions.
Airlines aren’t the only industry that will be affected by the wave of holiday travelers. Car rental bookings made through TripActions Lemonade this holiday season are up 278% compared to 2020, an indicator that there could be another car rental shortage this holiday season. At the same time, a wave of hotel bookings has caused room prices to increase about 39% overall, according to AAA.
For those still making travel plans in 2021, there is an opportunity to take advantage of hotel discounts on Black Friday. Members of the Lemonade Loyalty Club who book through TripActions Lemonade will receive a $25 e-gift card to Shutterfly to create a photo book and make those memories last a lifetime. TripActions Lemonade users can simply book a trip for themselves and a guest to travel before Dec. 31, 2021, to receive the gift.*
*Only TripActions customers who have booked a personal trip for themselves and a guest on Lemonade by November 30, 2021, with a travel start date by December 31, 2021, are eligible to receive a $25 Shutterfly gift card.