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AAA: Memorial Day weekend could be busiest at airports since 2005

The Automobile Club of Southern California projects 3.3 million people will travel this holiday weekend.

SAN DIEGO — The American Automobile Association projects 3.3 million southern Californians will hit the road and sky for Memorial Day weekend. That's more than pre-pandemic levels.

With demand for flights skyrocketing across the country, airports like San Diego International are bracing for what’s expected to be one of the busiest travel weekends since 2005.

Annette Peterson flew in from Minneapolis to visit her daughter for Memorial Day weekend.

“She’s in the military, and so we come out here ever so often to see her,” said Peterson.

She is one of the many who are experiencing the holiday travel rush.

"This airport is crazy busy," she added.

"Wasn’t expecting that many people I mean, we had to wait a little bit to get checked in and everything," said another traveler, Nick Igbinovia.

AAA expects as many as 42.3 million Americans will travel nationwide this weekend. 

“People feel more comfortable to travel again,” said a spokesperson for AAA, Doug Shupe.

Doug Shupe, with AAA, says airports will be the busiest. Booking data shows San Diego ranks number two as a top domestic destination for southern Californians this weekend after Las Vegas.

“So even if you’re staying in town, you’ll likely see many more people on the roads," he added.

"Last year was busy, and we expect it to be even busier," said Larisa Casillas with the San Diego International Airport.

Casillas says new Terminal One construction is adding to airport delays. She recommends people give themselves plenty of time when traveling to or from San Diego.

“We want people to be precautious when they get here and to plan and to come prepared to see a little extra congestion,” she adds.

She says the new and completed Terminal One will have enhanced check-in space to make the process easier for people, but until then, she is asking travelers to have patience.

She also recommends booking parking reservations ahead of time since on-site parking is limited or using public transportation or a ride-share company to get dropped off.

You must also get to the airport at least 2 hours before domestic and 3 hours before international flights.

If you opt for a road trip instead, AAA says to inspect your vehicle before hitting the road.

"Check your tire tread and inflation; ensure your batter is fully charged. Top off your fluid levels. Doing preventative maintenance on your vehicle will hopefully prevent you from having a roadside breakdown and get you to your destination on time but, most importantly, safely," said Shupe.

WATCH RELATED: AAA expects this Memorial Day weekend could be busiest at airports since 2005 (May 25, 2023)

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