Road warriors might have a break from business travel this holiday week, but the skies will be packed with leisure travelers.
More than 3.2 million leisure travelers will fly this week, according to AAA, a nine percent increase over the 2.9 million air travelers in 2011. This year's gain is the third consecutive year of rising Independence Day holiday air travel volume, following the decade low 1.4 million air travelers in 2009.
The AAA figures show overall airfares are flat year over year with an average lowest round-trip rate of $200 for the top 40 U.S. air routes in both 2011 and 2012. Flat airfares, combined with a longer holiday travel period due to the mid-week holiday, are cited for the increase in travelers, according to AAA.
AAA defines the holiday travel period between Tuesday, July 3 through Sunday, July 8.
While airfares may be flat in many markets, hotel rates are higher compared to last year.
According to AAA's Leisure Travel Index, holiday hotel rates for AAA Three Diamond lodgings are four percent higher than a year ago, and Two Diamond rates are an average nine percent higher.
AAA figures are in line with data Orbitz Worldwide sent to CNBC.com showing a nine percent higher average daily room rate, or ADR, for the top U.S. 25 destinations. The ADR for 2012 is at $134, according to the online travel website.
The Orbitz data also shows more consumers favor the front end of the holiday week with 57 percent of room nights booked for the June 29 to July 5 period, compared to 43 percent for the July 3 to July 9 timeframe.
So where are people traveling by air? The top 10 destinations for people booking on Orbitz are as follows:
- New York
- Los Angeles
- San Francisco
- Washington, D.C.
- Las Vegas
Top international destinations are Great Britain; Paris, France; Seoul, South Korea and Lima, Peru.