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Memorial Day Weekend Air Travel Set to Soar as Motorists See Highest Gas Prices in Years

OAKLAND (KPIX) -- Whether it's by air or on the ground, Memorial Day weekend is expected to see quite a spike in travel. AAA is estimating a 60 percent increase in traffic compared last year.

On Friday, some 30,000 travelers passed through Oakland International Airport. Many were taking to the skies for the first time in almost two years.

Travelers that KPIX heard from said they were on their way to destinations such as Hawaii, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Many had waited until this weekend to fly after a long, pandemic hiatus.

"This is the first flight I've taken since the beginning of the pandemic," said Greg Gonzalez.

As more people get the vaccine, confidence in air travel is starting to take off.

"I think it's been stressful for people but I think people are feeling more comfortable with it," said Danielle Sill.

What may not be so comfortable is the holiday travel impact on the pocket book. Sill said she paid twice as much for her trip.

And it's not just plane tickets. Many people are experiencing sticker shock at the gas pump with the most expensive Memorial Day weekend fuel prices since 2014.

"It's gone up pretty quick in the last month," said Candy Walker. "It's gone up a dollar at least."

But the lure to see family and old friends is greater than high prices putting the brakes on getting away.

"We're still traveling -- not going to stop," Shelley Green said.

While it may feel like we are near pre-pandemic levels, that is not quite the case. AAA says there are nearly six million fewer travelers than 2019.

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