Sluggish Economy Slows Holiday Travel

Wednesday, December 17th 2008, 7:16 pm
By: News 9

By Jennifer Pierce, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY - Travelers are not taking off this holiday season. AAA predicts a decrease in air and vehicle travel from this time last year.

Oklahomans are choosing to stay closer to home for a number of reasons. But if you are planning to travel you may have a hard time finding a flight.

Air travel is down for a number of reasons, the biggest is the economy and the other is that airlines have fewer flights to choose from.

"Being here early doesn't hurt because if we came closer to Christmas Eve or day we would be hurting," Mason Hodges said.

Or, he may not have even made it. When fuel prices went sky high, airlines grounded flights. Airports and travelers are seeing the impact this holiday season.

"We're going to be busy, but I'm not sure we'll be as busy as we have in past years," Will Rogers World Airport Spokesperson Mark Kranenburg said.

Some holiday travelers even booked flights a few months in advance.

The changes aren't all bad though. Airlines are offering lower fares.

"Some of the deals are very good, you just have to be able to search them out or know where to look to get the best fares," Bentley Hedges Travel Agent Angela Hendricks said.

Even though air travel is down, some local travel agencies are staying busy. Agents said the limited flights means seats are going fast.

"On the most popular days returning home, on the weekend, after Christmas, flights are full," Hendricks said.

While there are deals out there if you travel on the slow days, the best deals seem to be to getaway locations like Florida, Mexico and Hawaii.

Travel agents predict airline prices will continue to fall into the New Year. So if you have already booked something for next year, you may want to consider canceling for a better deal.