If you’re traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday, you can expect airports to be busier and planes to be fuller than ever, according to a forecast by the main trade association for U.S. airlines. Airlines for America expects nearly 24 million travelers to fly between now and Nov. 27. That’s up narrowly from a year earlier. Last year’s tally was flat from 2010. But traffic on the nation’s airlines is still 10 percent below the peak travel years of 2006 and 2007.
For those traveling on the busiest days around Thanksgiving, planes are expected to be close to 90 percent full, the trade group says. That would be a record for the holiday. Sunday, Nov. 25 is projected as the busiest travel day, followed by Wednesday, Nov. 21 and Monday, Nov. 26.
The Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids is hosting its 18th annual “Christmas and Holiday Traditions Around the World” exhibition.
This year’s exhibition runs Tuesday through Jan. 6 and highlights the Railway Garden. More than 40 international holiday trees and displays also will be showcased.
During the event, Meijer Gardens transforms into a botanical wonderland with poinsettias, orchids and amaryllis. Horse-drawn carriage rides will be available through the candle-lit Sculpture Park, along with the sounds of carolers and hand bells.
Family art activities, Santa visits and sing-along-trolley rides also are planned.
More than 75,000 visitors are expected to attend.
JFK tours mark
day of mourning
The National Park Service will open John F. Kennedy’s boyhood home in Massachusetts to tours on Nov. 25 to mark the 49th anniversary of the national day of mourning that followed his assassination.
The nine-room house at 83 Beals St. in Brookline is a national historic site where the 35th American president spent his early boyhood.
The town put a memorial in front of the residence following JFK’s 1963 death.
The Kennedy family repurchased the home from other owners a few years later before giving it to the National Park Service in 1969.
Tours from National Park rangers will include a look at Kennedy family furnishings, photographs and other mementos.
The historic site closes in the winter and reopens to the public next May.
Car rental firms’ ratings are up
American travelers are increasingly dissatisfied with the nation’s airlines, but they seem pretty happy with the country’s car rental companies.
For the first nine months of this year, the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics got 12,145 consumer complaints about airline services, up 33.5 percent from a year earlier. Based on complaints filed in September alone, the biggest sources of aggravation for fliers were flight delays, cancellations, problems with baggage, ticketing and reservations and, of course, customer service.
Meanwhile, customer satisfaction with rental car companies has increased for the third consecutive year, according to a study by J.D. Power & Associates. In fact, the satisfaction level — reaching 769 on a 1,000-point scale — is the highest in seven years.