AAA is forecasting an increase of over 3% in the number of locals flying out of Newark this Thanksgiving compared to 2013, with all kinds of implications for the airport: more traffic on the loop road and more pedestrians crossing it; more cars vying for curb space at terminals and for parking spaces in long and short-term lots; longer lines at ticket counters, security checkpoints, news stands, restaurants and restrooms.
AAA spokeswoman Tracy Noble said “Passengers need to plan far in advance of their flight in order to get to the airport, to allow them to park, use an off-site parking facility if they’re using that option, and to get through the security line".
AAA is predicting an even steeper increase of 4.1 percent over last year in the number of New Jerseyans driving at least 50 miles to give thanks, which is also likely to affect fliers by generating more traffic on the way to the airport.
And on top of the increasing number of travelers, the National Weather Service is forecasting a nor'easter that could drop several inches of snow on New Jersey on Wednesday evening. And while snow could mean some travelers awake to a white Thanksgiving, others could wake up with an aching back on a cot or a terminal floor if a cancelled flight left them stranded at the airport.
Fliers are advised to check on the status of their flights before heading for the airport. The Federal Aviation Administration lists delay information for individual airports across the country in the form of an online map, updated constantly. Remember, Newark flights can be impacted by conditions at any airport, if it's the one your flight is headed to or from.
To make flying out of Newark as smooth as possible, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey website provides information on facilities, services and conditions at the airport ranging from parking availability and fees, to weather, in real time or with frequent updates.
The Port Authority has set up a flight tracking box on the airport web page, which acts like commercial tracking sites, but is specific to flights in or out of Newark Liberty.
There is short-term parking in lots just across the loop road from each terminal, priced at $4 per half hour and $33 per 24-hour period, but with those prices, you know what I'm going to say. Get a move on and get a park and fly so you can wake up right there in an airport hotel, let the hotel drive you to the terminal, and leave your car at the hotel for free while you're away.
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