OAKLAND (KPIX) — This holiday travel season is expected to be record-breaking, according to AAA.
Oakland International Airport is expecting a 5 percent increase in travel, compared to this time last year.
“Oh my gosh, it’s crazy, I’m so glad my flight was delayed or else I don’t think I’d be making it on tonight,” said traveler Kaitlin Liston.
Liston isn’t going home to Los Angeles empty handed.
“This entire suitcase and half of this one is presents because my entire family comes to my house for the holidays,” she said.
112.5 million Americans — more than a third of the country — are traveling this holiday season, either by plane or on the road. [See AAA Report]
“So my family was originally planning on driving but I know that traffic’s going to be pretty crazy, so I’m trying to find a flight, a last minute flight that’s going to be cheap and worth going down to LA,” said Sevan Nahabedian.
Experts say the growth in travel is in part due to low unemployment and rising incomes.
“I’m in between jobs so I have a month off, so definitely looking forward to travel,” said Hayes Gorecki of Walnut Creek.
He packed his snowboard for the flight.
“I’m ready to ride yeah, I may go up to whistler,” he added.
The travel window this year has expanded to include Thursday, Dec. 20. One couple was ready for a special performance in Seattle.
“The Emerald City has a big burlesque scene and our daughter is a professional dancer in many venues and we’ve seen her dance in the Nutcracker countless times. This is a burlesque version,” said traveler John Coveney.
Mineta San Jose International Airport was also extra busy so it’s no wonder it expects a 9 percent increase in travelers this season.
The lightest days to travel will be on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.