KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Heading into the holiday, the travel industry is expecting a surge in activity in the air and on the road.
Whether hopping on a plane or taking to the road, experts say to "pack your patience."
Kansas City International Airport is projecting more than 130,000 passengers for the Fourth of July weekend, continuing a surge in traffic.
Comparing May 2021 to May 2020, data at the airport shows a nearly 500% increase in passenger traffic. More than 680,000 passengers passed through KCI in May of 2021.
"People are flying again feeling comfortable with that, maybe even just a little bit of cabin fever, so we're doing our best to be ready for them here at the airport," said Joe McBride of KCI.
Those who choose to fly must remember to wear a mask. Federal requirements still have them in place at the airport and on airplanes until September at the earliest.
For the road-tripping crowd, AAA is predicting more than 40 million Americans will be in the car this weekend.
"This will actually be the highest total number of road trips taken for the Independence Day holiday since AAA started recording these numbers back in 2000," Nick Chabarria said.
That’s driving demand for fuel, pushing up gas prices.
"We're expecting to see the highest fuel prices for the Independence Day holiday weekend since 2014. Missouri is $2.81 per gallon for regular unleaded. Demand has increased substantially for fuel across the country," Chabarria said.
With more movement on the road, industry leaders warn drivers to slow down and stay focused, due to recent, concerning trends.
"Reports for 2020 show a 12% increase in vehicle fatalities for here in Missouri compared to 2019, and again, that's concerning when we know that traffic patterns were reduced by about 25% or you know or so throughout the year," Chabarria said.