CLEVELAND (WJW) — Despite the skyrocketing cost of fuel and increases in airfares, many Americans are still taking the skies and highways for Memorial Day weekend.
Air travelers heading to or from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport over the weekend are also contending with the impact of scattered flight delays and cancellations around the country.
Another obstacle to air travel is a 6% increase in economy airfares over the past year. However, after dealing with travel restrictions during the pandemic, many travelers decided it was worth the extra money to take a trip.
Barbara Beaubien, who flew from Phoenix to Cleveland to visit an old friend, told Fox 8, “I think people have been cooped up for way too long with the COVID situation and we all just need to get out and try to go about our lives normally for a change.”
Whatever the cost and challenges of traveling by air might be, it was worth it for Roberta Cammon, because she came to Cleveland to pick up her grandchildren and take them back to her new home in the Southwest for the Summer.
“Because I moved during COVID, I moved to Arizona during COVID, so I haven’t seen them in over a year,” said Cammon.
Meanwhile, Emily Arnall says she delayed booking her family’s round trip from Arizona to Cleveland in the hope that the prices would drop, but that was an exercise in futility.
“I usually do better on flight prices, that’s kind of my hobby, checking flight prices and I didn’t do as well as I usually do this time around but I tried,” said Arnall.
Even though the price of gas is now averaging an all-time high of $4.60 a gallon nationwide, AAA estimates that more 39 million Americans are traveling over the holiday weekend, which is about 90% of pre-pandemic levels.
Some travelers told us that they just wanted a chance to get away for a couple of days, but the fuel prices forced them to scale back on the distances they were willing to travel.
Maryanne Tranter, who drove to Cleveland from Cincinnati to attend a music festival and spend some time on Lake Erie, told FOX 8, “Maybe it would have been even better to stay in Cincinnati but we appreciate what Cleveland also has to offer and other cities in Ohio, so it was worth the money to travel up there and use the gas.”
As she filled up her rental car at a Medina gas station, Carol Runk told us she is getting a full dose of the high prices of fuel, airfare and everything else. She flew to Cleveland to pick up her three grandsons and is taking them back to her home in Las Vegas for the Summer.
“We’re on a fixed income and because of inflation, a lot of things have gone up, so we’re taking some of the fun things away to pay for the necessities. But I’d rather spend time with [my grandsons] than buy something,” she said.