Unlike merchants catering to last-minute shoppers, merchants trying to plan a Christmas trip can’t find great deals and if they can’t find seats on a plane the week before the holidays. there is.
With the potential for snow and potentially heavy traffic on Interstate 90, my travel advice for anyone driving to their vacation destination can be summed up in two words: . to leave early.
With one week to go until Christmas, the Yakima Herald Republic has researched travel options (including both flying and using the Bel Air Airport Shuttle) and road conditions to anticipate the upcoming holiday season.
fewer seats on the plane
Those who haven’t bought tickets for Christmas travel are running out of time and options, and will end up paying whatever seats are available.
It might be easier and less expensive to fly in Santa’s sleigh.
“People who book flights at the last minute are going to be paying a lot for those tickets,” said Buck Taft, director of Pasco’s Tri-Cities Airports. will be more expensive.”
A review of Alaska Airlines availability on Thursday afternoon, Dec. 15, revealed the remaining options between Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Yakima and Tri-Cities. Alaska Airlines’ flight schedule was chosen because it serves all three airports.
There are just two seats left on the 12:45 PM daily flight from Sea-Tac to Yakima from Sunday, December 18th through Saturday, December 24th. Tuesday, December 20th, both for $349.
For those who want to travel for Christmas, there are 5 seats left on the 12:45pm flight between Sea-Tac and Yakima. The flights to Yakima on Monday 26th December are sold out, but there are still plenty of seats left from 27th to 29th December.
There were more options in the opposite direction from Yakima to SeaTac.
There are even more options between Tri-Cities Airport and Sea-Tac, with 4-5 daily flights in each direction.
The limited number of seats available continues the trend of full flights that both Tri-City and Yakima Airport officials noticed this fall.
“Historically, flights between November-January and June-August were peak travel seasons.
“Last month (November), Yakima to Sea-Tac load factor reached 91.7%, an impressive growth from COVID levels of 51% to 59% on average,” added Barrett.
Taft said November data is not available at Tri-Cities Airport, but estimates that flights in the past few months have been filled to at least 90% capacity.
“Our flights are pretty full right now… October load factor is about 90% on all flights, and the long-term parking lot is full this Thanksgiving for the first time,” added Taft.
Options for airport users
Barrett suggested that the Airporter Shuttle bus was another way to establish travel connections if Alaska Airlines had no seats available on flights between Yakima and SeaTac.
Richard Johnson, owner of Airporter Shuttle, said: “And, like other travel companies, there was a sharp drop in (passenger numbers) on Thanksgiving, followed by a long, slow increase leading up to Christmas.”
Due to a shortage of qualified drivers, there are only three scheduled times in each direction between Yakima and SeaTac this year, not four of the previous year’s five routes, Johnson said. said.
Bus service departs Yakima Airport daily at 5am, 10:30am, and 2pm, arriving at Sea-Tac after 3 hours and 40 minutes. The shuttle also makes stops at Ellensburg, Cle Elum, and North Bend, depending on passenger numbers.
Yakima is served by three daily Airporter buses, which depart Sea-Tac at 11am, 4pm and 7pm and are expected to arrive at Yakima Airport in 3 hours and 35 minutes.
Seats will remain available for the remainder of 2022, Johnson said. For full schedule and ticket information, visit airporter.com.
He advised passengers to board the shuttle arriving at Sea-Tac in plenty of time before the flight departs, as highway conditions and traffic congestion may delay the bus.
“Give yourself plenty of time to get there and avoid stress,” Johnson said. much better.”
Johnson said the Airporter Shuttle is working with the Washington State Department of Transportation to report on road and traffic conditions and will notify customers if Snoqualmie Pass or other highway closures affect travel to SeaTac. I’ll announce it.
A banner at the top of Airporter Shuttle’s website contains up-to-date information, he added.
heavy traffic on the highway
Speaking of WSDOT, the statewide agency released its annual Christmas weekend travel forecast last week. Expect the heaviest traffic on Interstate 90 and Snoqualmie Pass on Friday, December 23, especially he Monday, December 26.
WSDOT transportation analysts looked at the weekend before Christmas fell on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or Monday and predicted the longest travel times in both directions on Interstate 90 between North Bend and Cle Elum.
Eastbound and westbound traffic on that portion of Interstate 90 is expected to peak on Monday, December 26, when many employers offer it as a holiday. Eastbound I-90 expects moderate to heavy congestion from 8am to 4pm, with peak congestion from 10am to 2pm.
Forecasts are similar for Monday’s westbound I-90 traffic, which is expected to be moderate to busy from 11am to 7pm and reach peak congestion levels from noon to 5pm. increase.
WSDOT officials stressed that severe winter weather, collisions, or other emergencies could affect traffic levels during and after expected busy hours, and the agency’s online travel map I recommended the driver to check the mountain road report and make a plan in advance.
In a December 12 news release, WSDOT Winter Program Manager Jim Andersen said:
“Our crews take great pride in their work and are doing everything in their power to keep the roads open, but drivers and truckers need to do their part and slow down. said Anderson.
Preliminary weather forecasts call for snow over the weekend of December 17-18, with more snow likely as Christmas approaches, especially in the Cascade Mountains.
The National Weather Service’s forecast shows a high chance of snow in Snoqualmie Pass starting Sunday, December 18.