Thanksgiving travel down nationwide, Indianapolis air travel up

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Thirty-seven percent of Thanksgiving travelers leave town on Wednesday, which historically means big crowds, but AAA officials are predicting fewer families will travel more than 50 miles nationwide this year.

“Reports indicate that the economy is continuing to improve, but it’s doing so at a sluggish rate so I think that it’s discouraging a lot of people from traveling,” said Greg Seiter, AAA spokesperson.

“I feel like its going to get a lot more hectic throughout the week,” said Ally Reyes, a Butler University student who will be going on a cruise with her family.  She is trying to avoid a possible rush by leaving Indianapolis on Friday.

“To Fresno for Thanksgiving,” said George Bonham, another traveler.

“I usually just leave a few hours for dinner, book it and hope for the best,” said Makayla Pickett, who will be driving to southern Indiana to see family.

A projected 38.9 million people will be on the road across the United States during the Thanksgiving travel period. That is a nearly two-percent decrease in travel as compared to last year.

Nationwide,  air travel is also expected to decrease as compared to 2012, but Indianapolis International Airport officials believe they may represent an exception.

“One of the nice things we’re going to see is more activity from the airlines so passengers will have more choices, which is a change from years past. We’ll have about 1.5 percent more flights and about 1 percent more available seats,” said Chris Matney, air service director at the Indianapolis International Airport.

He also said airlines are not continuing to increase flight fares.

“I haven’t seen my son in five years, and my girlfriend in seven, so it’ll be quite a reunion,” said Bonham.

TSA will release airline data on Monday.