Americans are prancing into the festive season with smiles on their faces as they sign off from work until the new year. 

Employees have taken to social media to celebrate their last day of work before the great Christmas getaway kicks off this weekend.

Some of seemingly joked that productivity will be low at work today, while others have expressed gratitude for the promotions and pay rises that they are due to receive in 2024.

It comes as travelers prepare for an influx of traffic ahead of the holidays. AAA is forecasting that 115 million people will go 50 miles or more from home between Saturday and New Year’s Day, a 2 per cent increase over last year’s forecast. 

The busiest days on the road will be Saturday and next Thursday, December 28, according to transportation data provider INRIX. 

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) expects that the busiest days for air travel will be Thursday, Friday and New Year’s Day. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has said it is creating more air-traffic routes, especially along the East Coast, to help avoid disruptions and keep planes moving over the holidays.

Eustina Phiri took to X this morning to celebrate her ‘last day of work’ with a selfie. She sported a soft smile as she posed in her smart work attire

Another user @quelsee shared a smiling snap from an apparent workout studio announcing it was her last day of work until the new year

Another user @quelsee shared a smiling snap from an apparent workout studio announcing it was her last day of work until the new year

X user @Christy4Change shared video of a person dressed up as the Grinch dancing and described the performance as how she will be 'walking into my last day of work in 2023'

X user @Christy4Change shared video of a person dressed up as the Grinch dancing and described the performance as how she will be ‘walking into my last day of work in 2023’

Others used the platform to hail their accomplishments this year with user @CRMLWOLF celebrating a promotion and pay rise

Others used the platform to hail their accomplishments this year with user @CRMLWOLF celebrating a promotion and pay rise

One X user was seemingly relaxing as he entered his final shift ahead of the holidays

One X user was seemingly relaxing as he entered his final shift ahead of the holidays

Workers in the US and across the globe are seemingly excited to be setting their out of office replies and enjoying the upcoming holidays. 

Eustina Phiri took to X this morning to celebrate her ‘last day of work’ with a selfie. She sported a soft smile as she posed in her smart work attire.

Another user @quelsee shared a smiling snap from an apparent workout studio, telling her followers: ‘today is my last day of work until january 3rd.’

X user @Christy4Change shared video of a person dressed up as the Grinch dancing and described the performance as how she will be ‘walking into my last day of work in 2023’.

Others used the platform to hail their accomplishments this year with @CRMLWOLF tweeting: ‘Last day of work til the new year and I’ve just signed a promotion and pay rise effective from the 1st of January. Alhamdulillah for everything Allah really is the best of planners.’

‘Not only was yesterday my last day (for the year) at work, but I got a promotion too!! Yay!!!!,’ echoed user @Retha_TheMom.

Workers in the US and across the globe are seemingly excited to be setting their out of office replies and enjoying the upcoming holidays

Workers in the US and across the globe are seemingly excited to be setting their out of office replies and enjoying the upcoming holidays

The excitement for festive season comes as holidaymakers prepare to travel for Christmas.

Travel over Christmas and New Year’s tends to spread out over many days, so the peaks in the US are likely to be lower than they were during the Thanksgiving holiday, experts have said. That is making airlines and federal officials optimistic.

But the debacle at Southwest Airlines over Christmas last year should guard against overconfidence. Just this week, the Transportation Department announced a settlement in which Southwest will pay $140million for that meltdown, which stranded more than 2 million travelers.

So far this year, airlines have canceled 1.2 per cent of US flights, down nearly half from 2.1 per cent over the same period last year. Cancellations were well below 1 per cent during Thanksgiving, according to FlightAware.

‘I don’t want to jinx us, but so far 2023 has seen the lowest cancellation rate in the last five years,’ Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said Tuesday. He added, however, that winter weather ‘will certainly be a challenge in the next few weeks.’

Canceled flights surged last year, as airlines were caught short-staffed when travel rebounded from the pandemic more quickly than expected. Since then, US airlines have hired thousands of pilots, flight attendants and other workers, and the cancellation rate has come down.

After struggling with cancellations and other disruptions last year, European travel has also been smoother this year and more people are expected travel over Christmas and New Year’s, said Mike Arnot, spokesman for Cirium, an aviation analytics company. 

TSA workers are pictured conducting passenger security checks at the O'Hare International Airport in Chicago on Thursday, December 21, 2023

TSA workers are pictured conducting passenger security checks at the O’Hare International Airport in Chicago on Thursday, December 21, 2023

Travelers wait in line in Terminal A at Boston Logan International Airport on December 21, 2023

Travelers wait in line in Terminal A at Boston Logan International Airport on December 21, 2023

Travelers make their way down an escalator at Boston Logan International Airport on December 21, 2023 as the end-of-the-year holiday travel period begins

Travelers make their way down an escalator at Boston Logan International Airport on December 21, 2023 as the end-of-the-year holiday travel period begins

Still, about 3 per cent of flights within Europe have been canceled in so far in December, and nearly 30 per cent have been delayed, according to Cirium.

Cirium projected that the number of seats flown within Europe will rise 10 per cent between December 22 and January 2 compared to the similar period in 2023.

Strong winds and rain from a storm named Pia was expected disrupt travel in the Netherlands and UK on Thursday. 

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol airport warned a ‘significant number of flights will be delayed or canceled on Thursday.’ 

On Wednesday night, about a third of arriving and departing flights were delayed Schiphol on Wednesday, according to FlightAware. Just 1 per cent of departing flights and 2 per cent of arrival flights were canceled.

Some train routes were suspended in Scotland on Thursday due to Pia, and slowdowns were expected elsewhere in the U.K. but the storm was so far not disrupting air travel.

Globally, air travel has still not fully recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic. About 8.6 billion people are projected to travel through the world’s airports in 2023, according to Airports Council International, a Montreal-based trade group for airports. That’s about 94 per cent of the passenger volume in 2019, before the pandemic hit.

Travelers wait to check in for a flight at Miami International Airport in Florida on Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Travelers wait to check in for a flight at Miami International Airport in Florida on Wednesday, December 20, 2023

A traveler sleeps on a bench at Boston Logan International Airport on December 21, 2023

A traveler sleeps on a bench at Boston Logan International Airport on December 21, 2023

Travelers enter Terminal A at Boston Logan International Airport on December 21, 2023

Travelers enter Terminal A at Boston Logan International Airport on December 21, 2023

Over the past year, airlines have blamed many of their delays on a shortage of FAA air traffic controllers that slows down traffic. The agency, which pressured airlines to reduce flights in the New York City area this summer and fall because of FAA understaffing, says it has been hiring and now has 10,700 certified controllers.

‘There are different views on what the number should be, but it needs to be a lot higher,’ new FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker said Tuesday.

AAA is forecasting that 115 million people will go 50 miles or more from home between Saturday and New Year’s Day. That is a 2 per cent increase over the auto club’s forecast last year, although it would fall short of the record set in 2019.

Most of those people will drive, and they will save a bit on gasoline, compared with last Christmas. The nationwide average Wednesday was $3.08 a gallon, down 23 cents from a month ago and 6 cents from this time last year, according to AAA.

TSA expects that the busiest days for air travel will be Thursday, Friday and New Year’s Day. TSA expects to screen more than 2.5 million travelers each of those days – that’s still far short of the record 2.9 million that agents screened on the Sunday after Thanksgiving.

Flying is already surpassing pre-pandemic levels. The TSA has screened 12.3 per cent more travelers than it had by this time last year and 1.4 per cent more than in 2019. December is running about 6 per cent above the same month last year.

Canceled flights surged last year, as airlines were caught short-staffed when travel rebounded from the pandemic more quickly than expected. Since then, airlines have hired thousands of pilots, flight attendants and other workers, and the cancellation rate has come down.

The low rate of cancellations over Thanksgiving is leading to hope that flying over Christmas and New Year’s will be tolerable.

But even if cancellations remain low, flights will be packed, testing the patience of travelers and creating competition for space in overhead bins to store carry-on bags.

Travelers wait in line to check in for their flights in Terminal C at Boston Logan International Airport on December 21, 2023

Travelers wait in line to check in for their flights in Terminal C at Boston Logan International Airport on December 21, 2023

‘Airline gate agents are getting demerits when planes are late, so they are gate-checking far more bags to keep flights on time,’ said Pauline Frommer co-president of Frommers Travel Guides.

Frommer advises putting a smart tag in any bag that gets checked so you’ll know where it is, even if the airline doesn’t.

Whether flying or driving, travelers should be keeping an eye on the weather forecast.

AccuWeather forecasters say rain storms could hit California, the Pacific Northwest and the southern Plains states including Texas later this week, but things look brighter for population centers – and key airports – in the Northeast.

‘Last year was a really rough travel holiday,’ said AccuWeather’s Paul Pastelok. ‘This year it looks like milder conditions. There isn’t much snow and ice on the horizon yet.’

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