SEATTLE — AAA expects travel is up across the board this Labor Day weekend, whether people are flying or driving.
Friday will be one of the busiest travel days at SeaTac International Airport (SEA), with 10% more passengers than last year, inching closer to pre-pandemic levels.
The Sprangs are one of thousands of travelers into Seattle this weekend.
“Dave Matthews Band. We’re going to the Gorge. They're playing a three-day concert over the weekend so we got here a day early so we can relax before seeing some music,” said Jonathan and Kristen Sprang.
AAA reports Seattle is the number one domestic destination this Labor Day weekend.
“Our busiest day as always is on Friday and we're expecting to see 161,00 passengers, that's arriving, departing, connecting,” said Perry Cooper, spokesperson for SEA.
The surge in travel comes after people have been dealing with a summer of delays and cancellations at airports across the country.
“We've had some delays and some bumpy rides every now and then but this was a smooth one,” said Jonathan Sprang.
Just in time for the busy travel day, the Department of Transportation rolled out a new customer service dashboard so vacationers can see what kind of guarantees, refunds, or compensation airlines offer in case of delays or cancellations.
"I want to make sure it's very clearly spelled out so that passengers know what they're getting when they buy a ticket,” said Pete Buttigieg, United States Secretary of Transportation.
SeaTac said unlike other airports, it hasn't seen as many cancellations because people's trips typically start or end in Seattle, but it has dealt with some staffing shortages.
“Everybody throughout the region, throughout the country is dealing with staffing situations so we're encouraging people to have some grace and understanding with the staffing situation,” said Cooper.
AAA said more people are also driving to Seattle this weekend, likely due to a steady decline in prices at the pump.
Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) said you can expect to see some congestion.
“Especially for example, on I-90 westbound on Friday, from probably late morning, into the evening, because people will have to work and they won't get away till late,” said Tom Pearce, spokesperson for WSDOT.
WSDOT said to expect traffic backs up from the south on Northbound I-5 in the Olympia-Tacoma area. WSDOT said the best time to travel if you can is early in the morning or later in the evening. It’s also halting construction for the busy weekend.
“I do want to caution people that if we have to get out and do an emergency repair, or if there's a collision out there, those folks are going to need room to work. Be patient with them,” said Pearce.
Monday is the next busiest travel day.
SeaTac is telling people to plan ahead and arrive two hours early for a domestic flight and three hours early for an international flight.
SeaTac is expected to be at or above pre-pandemic levels by 2024.