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Memorial Day Weekend Kicks Off With High Hopes for Air Travel

Big news for Air Travel this Memorial Day weekend

Memorial Day weekend kicks off today with high hopes for a surge in airline travel and lower gasoline prices encouraging holiday excursions. The flip side is higher costs for backyard barbecue food compared with last year, putting shoppers on the hunt for bargains.

  • United Airlines is preparing for its busiest Memorial Day holiday in more than a decade, estimating 2.9 million passengers from Thursday to Tuesday. American Airlines expects to fly 2.9 million people.
  • United CEO Scott Kirby said this week it has 10% more pilots on standby and 25% more spare aircraft this year. A United spokeswoman told Barron’s the airline has hired 7,000 new employees so far in 2023, after hiring 15,000 last year.
  • Separately, up to 82% of consumers want bargains, MarketWatch reported, citing Numerator data. Barbecue hosts will find that ground beef prices are 1.5% lower than last year, but the price of bone-in chicken is up 4.3%, and steak costs 2.8% more, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Datasembly found that barbecue staples are more expensive than last year. A 32-ounce bottle of ketchup costs 27.94% more, and a 20-ounce mustard container is up 13.04%. An eight-pack of hot dogs is 3% more, and buns are 7% more. The inflation is not seeing to be colling down when it comes to barbecue staples

What’s Next: Online travel agency Hopper predicts the most expensive Memorial Day weekend for international travel in more than five years, with airfares to Europe up 50% from last year. That could benefit United, American, and Delta Air Lines, which are more exposed to international travel.

Callum Keown and Janet H. Cho at Barrons