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ATW confirms holiday traffic forecast 12% higher than 2022

It’s time to start planning for holiday travel, but well beyond the upcoming Thanksgiving/Christmas season. Allegiant Airlines announced it will operate a 12th direct flight—with service from Appleton International Airport to New York City starting May 17 of 2024. The flight will provide service on Fridays and Mondays to Newark Liberty International Airport in summer and fall with introductory fares as low as $59/person.

“What could be better than non-stop from Appleton to the Big Apple?” said Abe Weber, Appleton airport director. “Allegiant’s direct flights and low fares are a big reason why Wisconsin travelers are starting their vacations through the Appleton airport.” Weber adds the airline will be returning the Portland, Oregon route in 2024. However, it will start on May 23rd, almost a full month earlier than 2023.

“Our partnership with Allegiant Airlines is one more example of how the Appleton International Airport is one of the economic engines of the Fox Valley and Northeast Wisconsin,” said Outagamie County Executive Thomas Nelson. “We’re proud of the growth of this service for both vacation and business travelers.”

Allegiant has been flying out of Appleton since 2013 and in that time has rapidly expanded the number of flights serving the airport. Originally the carrier featured warm weather destinations for consumers but expanded both routes and destinations since that time. The airline has also increased the size of planes; now flying Airbus 320 planes that seat up to 186 passengers. Currently, Allegiant offers non-stop flights from Appleton to these airports:

  • Portland, Oregon
  • Phoenix/Mesa, Arizona
  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Denver, Colorado
  • Savannah/Hilton Head, Georgia
  • Flights to Florida include: Ft. Lauderdale/Miami, Orlando/Daytona Beach, Tampa/St. Petersburg, Sarasota/Bradenton, Ft. Meyers/Punta Gorda

Appleton is the only airport in Wisconsin served by Allegiant. In addition, carriers that serve the Appleton airport also fly non-stop to Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Minneapolis/St. Paul, and Detroit and Denver on other domestic carriers.

Plan now for holiday travel beyond Christmas

Officials at the Appleton Airport Air are cautioning travelers to make spring break travel plans now to avoid rising costs and ensure flight availability.

“We expect 2024 will be another milestone year for air travel,” Weber said. “We will mark our busiest year in Appleton with an anticipated 948,000 arrivals and departures by the end of this year and next year looks even busier.”

According to the Airports Council International, 2024 is expected to be a milestone for global passenger traffic recovery as it reaches 9.4 billion passengers. For the start of the 2024 holiday travel season, Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) forecasts show a 12% increase in traffic through Appleton International Airport Sunday to Sunday (eight days) of Thanksgiving week:

  • Sunday-Sunday 2023: 12,967 outbound passengers
  • Sunday-Sunday 2022: 11,416 outbound passengers

According to the American Automobile Association (AAA) 4.7 million people will fly over Thanksgiving nationally, an increase of 6.6% over 2022 and the highest number of Thanksgiving air travelers since 2005. Increased traffic has airline and airport officials urging travelers to plan ahead and pack their patience. Some tips from the experts at Appleton International Airport:

  • “If possible, fly in off-peak periods,” said Jesse Funk, business development manager for the Appleton airport. “The least crowded day to travel is actually Thanksgiving Day itself.”
  • When looking at Christmas, December 22nd and 23rd will be the heaviest travel days throughout the country.
  • Funk also recommends limiting your luggage to carry on items and traveling as light as possible.
  • Downloading the airline’s mobile apps ensures you have updated information on flight status and flexibility if you need to re-book.
  • If you haven’t already done so, TSA PreCheck takes the hassle out of going through airport security. PreCheck passengers have shorter security waits and use dedicated security lines. TSA PreCheck requires a $78 fee and is available at the Appleton airport.

Looking ahead to high demand travel periods is imperative for smart travelers, according to Funk. Fares are expected to climb for spring and summer as traveler demand increases as does the cost of doing business.

“Airlines are already bracing for increased fares in 2024,” Funk said. “Globally demand is outstripping supply and operational costs are rising.” If you’re planning to use travel points for a vacation, the time to book is now to ensure you have the flight dates and times that fit your family’s schedule.

About Appleton International Airport

Appleton International Airport connects our community to the world through American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, and Allegiant Air. In addition to offering nonstop service to 15 destinations, Appleton Airport connects to six major international airport hubs from which travelers can fly to almost anywhere in the world. Using Appleton Airport, travelers can safely and more conveniently get to their destination and home again, leaving them more time for what really matters. Appleton International Airport is the third largest airport in Wisconsin according to arrivals and departures. Visit atwairport.com to learn more.