Despite record gas prices and flight concerns, millions expected to travel for 4th of July

More people are expected to travel for the Fourth of July than last year, including a record number getting behind the wheel for the holiday.

AAA is projecting that across the country, almost 48 million people will travel by car, train, bus or plane. That’s an increase of almost 4% over 2021 and brings travel numbers almost back to where they were in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mary McGuire, spokesperson for AAA Northeast, said the biggest surprise is that despite historically high gas prices, an estimated 42 million people nationwide will get behind the wheel — a record number for the July 4th holiday weekend. Almost 1.4 million Massachusetts residents will be traveling McGuire says traffic will be especially heavy on Friday afternoon and evening and on Monday as people return. She said to expect congestion at the usual trouble spots: I-93 through Boston, I- 95 north to New Hampshire and Maine, the Mass Pike and the Cape Cod Canal Bridges.

For air travelers, the start of the holiday weekend was relatively smooth going at Logan Airport compared to scenes there in recent weeks. FlightAware reported 29 canceled flights into or out of Boston on Thursday — far below the dozens of canceled over Memorial Day weekend. About 16% of flights out of Boston were delayed on Thursday. As of 11 am Friday, only eight flights had been canceled and 5% of departing flights delayed.

Still, the Massachusetts Port Authority is advising travelers to arrive at Logan two hours before domestic flights and three hours before international flights.

There were scenes of passengers crowding into the international terminal Wednesday night, waiting to board overseas flights. MassPort’s Jennifer Mehigan told GBH News “there are certainly peak times when the international terminal is busier, but the security checkpoint lines tend to move quickly.”

MassDOT recently launched a travel time dashboard for drivers to find the best times to leave over the weekend or for normal weekday commutes. The MBTA says all subway, bus and The RIDE services will operate on weekend and modified schedules from Saturday through Monday. For those flying in and out of Logan, passengers can now download the free FlyLogan app to access information about the airport, flight status, purchase Logan Express tickets and reserve parking.

The bottom line is no matter where or how you may be traveling, officials advise you leave early, build in some extra time and prepare to be patient and enjoy the holiday.

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