Tri-State holiday travelers should expect more traffic, longer lines than last year

Posted at 10:46 AM, Dec 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-20 20:13:56-05

Whether you're flying out of the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, or hitting Tri-State highways this weekend or the days to follow, you won't be traveling alone. Not by a long shot.

Officials with CVG Airport are predicting more than a 2 percent increase in air travel compared to 2018's holiday season, and AAA has forecast a 4 percent increase in Ohioans hitting the states' roads over the next two weeks.

Friday is when the hustle and bustle will really get started, said CVG spokesperson Mindy Kersher.

"We will serve 305,000-plus passengers (from this Friday) until after the new year," Kershner said.

Kershner said a substantial number of those traveling out of CVG will drive from outside the Tri-State area to take advantage of the airport's increasing number of affordable flights to more destinations.

"We see a lot of folks coming from Louisville," she told WPCO. "We also do see a lot of people coming from Dayton, Indianapolis, Lexington, as far as Columbus. We also see folks from Tennessee, so I think the northern part of Tennessee, and then even West Virginia coming to fly out of CVG."

As for those traveling by car, AAA spokesperson Jenifer Moore said the nation as a whole -- as well as the state of Ohio -- will see more vehicles on the road than any other year in nearly the last two decades. Moore said AAA predicts nearly 5 million Ohioans will drive to and from their holiday destinations between Friday and the New Year.

"The economy is a huge driver behind this," Moore said. "Unemployment is kind of low as well. So, again more money in your pocket means more opportunities to travel to see family and friends."

Here are some tips if you're planning to sojourn away from the Tri-State this holiday fortnight:

By air

  • Where to go and where to park at CVG might feel a bit different than last year: Kershner said to pay careful attention to the new signage directing drivers to their terminals and the parking facilities.
  • Due to the logistical changes, Kershner advised to arrive at least 2 hours before your flight departs.
  • The average time spent going through CVG security is 10 minutes, but -- due to increased volume of travelers -- plan to spend more time in line.
  • Don't wrap your gifts before flying: Security may need to unwrap and search packages, whether carried on or checked.

By road

  • Expect lower gas prices than a month ago, but don't expect to spend the same amount for gas as last year's holiday. Moore said prices are slightly higher this year than this time last year.
  • Expect roads to begin filling up on Saturday, Dec. 21. Expect a travel surge peak on Monday and Tuesday, and then another surge on Thursday, Dec. 26.
  • Expect gas prices to continue to decline into the New Year.