The Busiest Travel Day of the Year

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To the average person, hearing that a particular day is the “busiest travel day of the year” is probably the equivalent of hearing that Cheerios are the best cereal for lowering cholesterol…interesting, but life life-altering. To those of us in the transportation industry, hearing that label attached to upcoming holidays has become “white noise”…and this is probably why…

Many years ago, airlines used to declare rate wars on one another, offering ridiculously low rates to fill their planes, and with great success. Masses of humanity needed to get to the airports to take advantage of these discounted rates, and the traffic in and outside the terminals was horrific. These were indeed good days for those of us that made a living driving people to the airports, because no one wanted to drive themselves. As a rookie chauffeur, it was pressure-filled and exciting at the same time.

Today’s fare wars are a little different. with much higher fares and airlines trying to sneak new fees past unsuspecting consumers. Needless to say, there are few days when airports are “overrun” with travelers, although there are still some days that are busier than the norm. So the question needs to be asked…How do you determine the busiest travel day of the year?

There are differing views, but it would appear that most important in determining “busy” is the total number of people taking to the skies. Seems fairly logical, but here is where it gets tricky. If the day before Thanksgiving is the busiest travel day of the year because that’s when the most people are flying, then how could all these other days also be the busiest travel days of the year? For instance, I’ve heard the Friday before Memorial Day referred to as the busiest travel day, and the last Saturday before Christmas too. How does this work?

For a limo company, the number of total people traveling around the country is less significant than the number of people passing through the airport…in vehicles. Traffic is what makes or breaks a limo company and major traffic headaches, like those associated with holidays, make operating smoothly a difficult proposition.

At the end of the day, it would be in the best interests of everyone involved if the media would refrain from tabbing any day of the year “the busiest”. The reality, at least in Chicago, is that every Friday night is going to be crazy, every Thursday night is tough, every Wednesday night will be busy, every spring break, major holiday, convention…all will be incredibly busy. Be prepared.

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Dale Schahczinski
Goal driven team leader, with industry experience spanning all aspects of operations and administration.