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Thursday, February 2, 2023

Labor Day 2022 travel: What to know when heading back home

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Millions of Americans are traveling over the Labor Day holiday weekend, which means there will be likely be issues on the road and at airports nationwide. 

Aside from traffic congestion, Robert Sinclair, Jr., senior manager of public affairs for AAA Northeast, says travelers need to be cautious of bad weather and potential car issues that could cause a vehicle to break down in the middle of congested motorways. 

When it comes to traveling on Monday, Sinclair Jr. told FOX Business that it would behoove travelers to leave their vacations by midday. Traffic will likely be heavy starting around 5 p.m. and could double trip times, he added. 


Additionally, AAA is also seeing "a lot of bad weather" around the country, including flooding, Sinclair, Jr. cautioned. 

"Drowning in a vehicle is one of the most dangerous weather related road conditions and especially at night and especially in unfamiliar territory," he said, noting that it takes just like five or six inches of moving water just to sweep away an SUV, much less a smaller, lighter car. 

Traffic on 110 freeway in California

Traffic is stalled on the 110 freeway.  (Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images / Getty Images)

Over the past seven days through Labor Day Monday, AAA Northeast projects there will be over 500,000 breakdowns for AAA members alone. They are expecting about 120,000 of those calls to be for dead batteries or battery problems. 


Travelers also need to check their tire pressure before trips home. Sinclair, Jr. says they are anticipating 64,000 calls for flat tires alone. 

It is also important to make sure the car's oil, coolant and transmission fluid are checked out as well. The company is anticipating more than 200,000 tows over the entire week as well, he added. 

Aside from driving, scads of travelers are also flying back home from their weekend getaways. Travel website hopper projected that 12.6 million travelers are expected to fly from U.S. airports over the Labor Day weekend. 

Although travelers are still facing issues, disruptions have eased compared to most days this summer. 

By noon a.m. ET Monday, there were over 1,100 flight delays in, out of and across the United States, according to flight tracker FlightAware. On Thursday and Friday, which were the busiest travel days, there were nearly 5,000 delayed flights each day. 

Travelers at Denver International Airport

Travelers queue up at the south security checkpoint in the main terminal of Denver International Airport, Thursday, May 26, 2022, in Denver.  (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File / AP Newsroom)

"But at 16% of flights overall delayed, that’s lower than the 20-22% we’ve seen most days this summer," FlightAware spokesperson Kathleen Bangs told FOX Business. 


However, travelers who confront issues can turn to the Department of Transportation's (DOT) new customer service dashboard. 

The dashboard, which went live right before the Labor Day holiday weekend, helps passengers see what kinds of guarantees, refunds or compensation the major domestic airlines offer in case of flight disruptions. 

JFK International Airport New York City

Travelers at John F. Kennedy International Airport in the Queens borough of New York City on Friday, July 1, 2022. (Angus Mordant/Bloomberg via Getty Images / Getty Images)

It is designed to allow travelers to shop around and favor those airlines that offer the best compensation. 

"Airlines are required to adhere to the promises that they make in their customer service plan, including commitments to care for customers in the event of controllable delays or cancelations," the DOT said. "The Department will hold airlines accountable if they fail to do so."

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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