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November 23, 2011 by staff
• Gasoline prices have taken a sudden tumble — below $3 a gallon at a handful of metro Detroit stations. That’s a plus for the 90% of travelers who will drive to holiday destinations. Metro Detroit’s average gas price was $3.26 Tuesday, AAA Michigan reported.
• Family and friends are on their way home to Michigan. Detroit is one of the top destinations for air travelers today, especially for those flying out of New York; Orlando; Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and Las Vegas, according to new data compiled by Orbitz.
• The weather is cooperating — at least for Thursday, which forecasters say will have lots of sun and temperatures in the mid-50s. Expect it to get a bit cooler and cloudy during the weekend, with rain possible Saturday and Sunday.
An estimated 1.3 million Michiganders are expected to travel at least 50 miles from home during the Thanksgiving travel period, which AAA Michigan said is a 9% increase over 2010.
Holiday ride guide
By air, road and rail, Thanksgiving travelers are on their way home — wherever that may be. This year, as in all years, there will be crowds and lines and unexpected moments — but with any luck, today will be as smooth as the whipped cream on top of the pumpkin pie.
Here’s what you need to know, depending on which way you plan to go.
By air: New York and Orlando will be the most popular outbound destinations for Detroit travelers during Thanksgiving, according to Orbitz data. Yet Detroit also is a popular destination for travelers from other parts of the country. That means the arrivals area at Metro Airport will be increasingly busy as today goes on, said airport spokesman Scott Wintner. He said people should wait in the airport’s cell phone lots, not line up at the curb.
“If you come to the arrivals curb before your party already has their bags and is out there waiting for you, you create a backup for everyone else,” he said. Already, it’s bustling. Tuesday afternoon, the McNamara Terminal had a half-mile backup leading to the arrivals level.
• Today’s arriving passengers will be met by clowns in domestic baggage claim at the McNamara Terminal. They’re sent by the Parade Co., which organizes America’s Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit.
• Security lines will be fully staffed to accommodate higher travel volumes, said James Fotenos of the Transportation Security Administration. One new twist to screening? Children 12 and younger now can leave their shoes on.
• Parking options have been expanded. The Yellow Lot reopened this week, joining the Green Lot and Big Blue Deck (all $10 a day). The McNamara deck is $20 per day. For parking updates, call the hot line at 800-642-1978.
• Sunday is expected to be the holiday weekend’s busiest day at the airport.
• Good weather should help with on-time arrivals and departures at Metro, but flights to and from spots on the East Coast, where storms are predicted, may face delays. Check for delays at www.fly.faa.gov , sign up for flight status notifications with your airline, and check other holiday travel tips at www.metroairport.com .
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