(WGHP) — Where are you planning to celebrate Thanksgiving this year? Are you planning to travel after having a COVID-19-impaired holiday a year ago? Will you fly from Piedmont Triad International Airport? How much will you spend? Where will you dine? And what will you choke down even though you don’t like the company or the dish being served?
You may find some of these answers are difficult to swallow.
Eric Jones, a mathematics and statistics professor at Rowan College in New Jersey, has published a Thanksgiving travel survey that offers several servings of insights.
Jones’ analyses are based on a digital survey of nearly 1,100 adults on Oct. 17, but he says his findings have a 95% confidence level and a plus/minus of 3.026%, which is much narrower than many of those political polls that we deem of critical importance.
And then we asked others to supplement his findings.
The big question of course is basic: Are you planning to splurge on travel this year and fly away to spend time with family? The data emphatically suggests an upward trend.
Jones’ research found that 10.52% (representing about 27 million people) will travel by plane this year, tripling the 9.5 million that the Transportation Safety Administration said traveled last year.
Piedmont Triad International Airport, for instance, has 102,300 total departing seats for November 2021, which is down about 15% from 2019 but nearly double the 52,155 from 2020, Stephanie Freeman, marketing and customer relations manager at Piedmont Triad Airport Authority, wrote in an email.
She also said that flight cancellation by the airlines is not tracked locally but that all changes are posted on the home page at flyfrompti.com. So call the airlines with your complaints.
Jones’ research tells us that about 20% of those surveyed figure they will spend at least $500 on travel expenses, which includes flights, gas, hotels, tickets or anything travel related. Nearly 3% of them will spend at least $3,000.
More than 44% figure to pay something less than $500 for travel, and 35.41% have said they won’t be paying anything (the stay-at-home folks).
Where and with whom?
And that figures, based on where people say they will be eating.
Most say they will eat at home (44.74%) or in the homes of friends and relatives (46.66%). Another 5.12% will go to a restaurant, and about 3.48% say they will be on vacation. It’s unclear if that means they’ll buy a hotdog from a pedal cart at the beach.
Jones said this equates to 235 million people dining in their homes or someone else’s.
Those tables are likely to be moderately crowded – nearly 70% saying there will be nine or fewer people dining together, 36.87% citing five to nine.
But then there will be some big gatherings, with 22.69% expecting 10 to 14 diners, and 9.15% will have even more than that.
“Nearly 32% of all American adults will attend a large Thanksgiving gathering of 10 or more people this year,” Jones wrote. “This figure equates to 82 million people. Additionally, more than 9% of all American adults will attend an even larger Thanksgiving gathering of 15 or more. This figure equates to nearly 24 million people.”
But not always loved ones: “More than 1 in 3 people will spend a holiday this year with at least one person they dislike,” Jones wrote. “Additionally, more than 1 in 5 people said they will spend a holiday with two or more people they dislike.”
What do you hate to eat?
Some also may be eating dishes they don’t really like.
Cranberry sauce is the most hated dish on the traditional Thanksgiving table, with nearly 30% disdaining the fruit in its various forms. But then more than 28% said they hate turkey, and 21% can’t abide pumpkin pie.
Here’s the full list of most-hated dishes:
- Cranberry sauce — 29.92%
- Turkey — 28.09%
- Green bean casserole — 24.61%
- Sweet potatoes or yams — 24.25%
- Stuffing/dressing — 23.42%
- Coleslaw — 21.68%
- Ham — 21.23%
- Pumpkin pie — 20.77%
- Mashed potatoes — 17.57%
- Macaroni and cheese — 14.73%
- Corn — 13.82%
- Carrots — 12.08%
But Jones reports that this is an age thing: Those 18 to 29 years old disliked turkey more than twice as much as those 60 or older. And it wasn’t just turkey.
“Interestingly, 27.11% of Americans aged 18-29 said they disliked mashed potatoes,” Jones wrote. “This is nearly three times the 9.50% of Americans over age 60 who say they dislike mashed potatoes.
“The data suggest that younger Americans are overwhelmingly pickier eaters than older people.”
PTI provides these tips for traveling
- Bring and wear a mask.
- Before Leaving Home or the Office: Check in online in advance and download your boarding pass to your phone. TSA and PTI airlines accept mobile boarding passes.
- Even with a boarding pass, travelers should reconfirm airline flight status as schedules may change due to weather or other factors.
- Allow plenty of time to get to the airport, park and go through airline check-in and TSA screening process. TSA requires travelers in standard lanes to remove all personal electronics larger than a cell phone from their carry-on bags and place them in bins with nothing above or below them so that TSA officers can get a clear X-ray image of these items (e.g.: laptops, tablets, e-readers, cameras). For more information www.tsa.gov.
- Be patient if delays occur. Aviation professionals around the globe are working together to get travelers to their destinations safely and on time.
- Prepare for security screening delays during the holidays. There are more travelers who are not as familiar with the rules and procedures for air travel and security. TSA screening procedures allow passengers 12 and under and 75 and older to leave their shoes on, and the adult group to leave on light jackets. TSA Pre-Check is offered at PTI.
- Limit your stress by limiting your carry-on baggage. Airlines are enforcing tighter restrictions on the amount/size of baggage you may carry onto planes. Bring only one bag that will fit under the seat or in the overhead bin and one personal item, such as a purse or briefcase.
- Place medicine, jewelry, cameras and other valuable items in your carry-on baggage.
- Handle prohibited items properly. Remember that firearms, ammunition and knives are prohibited at the TSA checkpoint. For a complete list of permitted and prohibited items, visit www.tsa.gov.
- Food items such as pies and cakes are permitted through security checkpoints, but may require further inspection. If travelers are not sure if a food item is considered a liquid or gel it is best to pack the item in checked baggage or ship it to a destination in advance.
- Remember 3-1-1 for liquids: Liquids, gels, aerosols, creams and pastes must be 3.4 ounces or less and all bottles must fit in one quart size plastic bag and placed in a bin for screening. This includes sun block and tanning sprays. One quart-size bag is permitted per person.
- TSA Cares: Travelers or families of passengers with disabilities and medical conditions may call the TSA Cares helpline toll free at 1-855-787-2227 or visit https://www.tsa.gov/contact-center/form/cares with any questions about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at the security checkpoint 72 hours prior to traveling. Injured service members and veterans including individuals associated with a wounded warrior program may contact TSA Cares to help facilitate the screening process.