Holiday travel a test for economy - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Holiday travel a test for economy


MADISON (WKOW) -- The state of our economy is affecting you as you book holiday travel.   But it may be the one economic sector, where there's a sliver of relief.

It's been almost impossible to miss the plummet in gas prices.   You can now find a gallon of unleaded gas for less than three dollars fairly easily in the greater Madison area.

Analysts say airfares are also dropping, as some airlines ditch fuel surcharges on some routes.

But Burkhalter Travel Agency vice president Scott Mast tells 27 News, do not expect any significant discounting on holiday period bookings.   Mast says some airlines trimmed their fleets when fuel costs soared this summer and need to fill fewer seats over Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Mast does say airline seats remain for the traditionally busy holiday season, as consumers delay travel decisions as they watch the economy's direction.   "The inventory is out there, there is inventory for Mexico, there's inventory for Europe, there's inventory in Hawaii, it's all right there."

Amtrak's banner year is expected to continue through the holiday season as consumers look at rail as an alternative to auto and air travel.   Darlene Tjugum of Columbus says her recent trip from southern Wisconsin to Chicago on Amtrak was a steal.   "$39 roundtrip.   How can you beat that?"

If you are going to grandma's by car this Thanksgiving, AAA Wisconsin spokesperson Larry Kamholz says it is difficult to predict what you will pay to fill up the tank.

But Kamholz expects the price of gasoline to continue to drop over the next several weeks.

Kamholz also expects the roads to be busy come Thanksgiving, with the economy's impact on travel decisions to be on the margins.   "How much extra traveling are they going to do?"


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