Ross: Want to solve holiday travel? Just live closer to your family

Nov 22, 2022, 9:10 AM


Passengers walk through Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport on November 23, 2022 in Arlington, Virginia. Airlines are preparing for an increase in passengers over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend with demand expected to reach near pre-pandemic levels. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

(Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

One of my least favorite holiday news items is the “When is the best time to fly?” story.

Because the answer is always the same – the best time to fly is when nobody else is flying.

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But when you think about that for a few seconds you realize the absurdity of that kind of advice, because it means flying when there’s no holiday to fly for!

This exposes the fundamental problem with holidays, which is that everybody celebrates them at the same time.

And that’s what has to change.

We have to stop celebrating holidays at the same time. Because many holidays are not time-dependent. Like Thanksgiving. A big meal with friends and relatives. It’s not the 1600s anymore–– we don’t have to wait for the harvest. We could hold it anytime. Why not just do it state by state? You have 52 weeks in the year, 50 states, and a different state holds Thanksgiving each week, problem solved.

Now, Christmas is a little more difficult because that is time-dependent. So there’s no getting around everybody wanting to be with family at the same time. But again, let’s think this through – it’s not like everyone just suddenly decided to fly at Christmas.

Nobody walks up to the ticket counter on a whim and buys a plane ticket – unless you want to test the hospitality of the FBI.

Most of us made our plane reservations months ago, so the airlines and airports know exactly how many passengers are coming. They have plenty of time to get ready. The only unknown is how much luggage we’ll all bring.

That’s the big problem. Without luggage, you could board a plane in two minutes. I used to keep a week’s worth of clothes at my parents – and that was my holiday wardrobe.

But since most people won’t do that, there is one thing all of us could do to eliminate all this holiday travel anxiety once and for all.

Stop moving away from our families. Too many people decide to move hundreds of miles away from home without stopping to think that every year for the next 50 years they’re going end up sitting at some airport surrounded by a million strangers snacking on roasted nuts to stay alive.

It seems to me if you love your family enough to go through the hassle of holiday airport lines, you should love them enough to stay within driving distance.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Ross: Want to solve holiday travel? Just live closer to your family