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Sunday, May 26, 2019

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Fair weather, falling gas prices helped Thanksgiving travelers

Fair weather, falling gas prices helped Thanksgiving travelers

Mild weather and falling gasoline prices helped Thanksgiving travelers get where they were going while saving a few bucks.

Airports around the country were busy Wednesday, leading to more than 1,500 delayed flights by early afternoon on the East Coast. Only about 75 flights were canceled, however, with about 40 of those in San Francisco, according to tracking service FlightAware.

"It was a good day. The weather was very cooperative," said American Airlines spokesman Ross Feinstein. "It's busy, but this Sunday and Monday will be busier travel days for us."

Holiday revelers traveling by car were able to take advantage of a big decline in gasoline prices caused by lower oil prices. The nationwide average pump price on Wednesday was $2.60 a gallon, down 25 cents from a month ago.

GasBuddy, a price-comparison site, said prices were under $2 a gallon in nine states, with several others hovering just above that mark.

"We will see the national average go lower because there are still drops in the pipeline," said GasBuddy analyst Patrick DeHaan. He estimated that U.S. motorists are spending $100 million less each day on gasoline than they were a month ago.

AAA forecasted the busiest Thanksgiving travel period since 2005. Most people who traveled at least 50 miles from home went by car, according to the auto club. AAA spokesman Robert Sinclair credited a strong economy and rising consumer confidence, "and when we have a little time built into our schedules, we take advantage of it."

And what helped was that much of the country was blessed with mild weather.

The busiest day ever for Transportation Security Administration airport screeners was the Sunday after Thanksgiving in 2004, but seven of the top 10 days occurred during summer, including five days this past June.