Hitting the road today? Expect more company

Gobble, gobble gas.  AAA is projecting 43.6 million will hit the road today through Sunday for Thanksgiving weekend travel.

That would be the fourth straight year of Turkey Day travel growth, says AAA. Travel has rebounded each of the years following a 25 percent plunge in 2008 on the heels of recession.

About 90 percent of the travelers will go by car. Last year, holiday fliers declined to 3.14 million from 3.2 million in 2011.

Not factored in: Hurricane Sandy. 

“While we do not yet know the full impact that Hurricane Sandy will have on travel from the Mid-Atlantic region, we do know that the impact for many Americans in that region is substantial,” said Robert Derbelnet, AAA president and CEO.

Another factor that could play into travel budgets: Gas.

It's expected the national average price of gasoline will drop to between $3.25 and $3.40 a gallon by tomorrow. The national average has declined by nearly 40 cents a gallon since early October and is expected to continue falling through the end of the year.

As of this morning, most major roads were clear, but by midafternoon the outbound Schuylkill Expressway (I-76) was starting to clog, and volume was building on I-95, the Blue Route (I-476),  and Route 202.

Most departures and arrivals seemed to be on time this afternoon at Philadelphia International Airport.

Airport officials advise that travelers can help speed the process by checking the status of flights by either contacting the airline directly, or calling the Airport at 800-PHL-GATE, or visit the Airport’s website (www.phl.org) and go to “Flight Information.”

When arriving, travelers should arrive at least two hours early for a domestic trip, have their flight numbers handy, a valid, government-issued photo ID if over 18, and have liquids, gels and aerosols in 3-ounce or smaller containers in a re-sealable, one-quart, clear plastic bag. Only one such bag per passenger is permitted. Anything larger than three ounces must be placed in checked baggage.

As far as mass transit in Philadelphia, SEPTA was warning travelers that it has detours starting 8 o'clock tonight in preparation for the Thanksgiving Day Parade.  Service will be effected on a number of buses that normally operate on and around the parade route on JFK Boulevard and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

The Market-Frankford Line Night Owl buses will also be detoured when they begin service at approximately 12:15 a.m. Thursday. The remaining routes are scheduled to go on detour at approximately 3 a.m.

Normal service is expected to begin resuming Thursday afternoon, following the conclusion of the parade.

For full information, go to this special section on SEPTA's website