Realizing that air traffic congestion is terrible and will be even worse next week during Thanksgiving holiday, President Bush announced that the FAA is working on new ideas, plus military airspace will be opened up for five days to civilian planes. If using military airspace (the "Thanksgiving Express Lane") works well this time around, it may reopened for the Christmas holidays.

The other measures the President announced were:

  • FAA will focus on preventing delays and work with the Port Authority to reduce bottlenecks in the NY-NJ area;
  • FAA will work with airlines to expedite check-in (like extra ticket kiosks, staff) and have extra seats and extra planes on hand;
  • FAA will use the Internet to provide real-time status on flight delays at Fly.FAA.Gov;
  • Proposing more compensation for passengers affected by airline delays ("For example, a passenger forced to wait more than two hours for another flight would receive a minimum of $800 under our idea -- instead of the current $400.");
  • Making airlines collect better data on delays;
  • Developing long-term solutions to reduce congestion - perhaps like "congestion pricing" of the skies, which would involve airports charging fees for times of day when demand is greatest.

The three airports in the NYC-area are the worst in the nation when it comes to on-time performance. Newsday spoke to an airplane industry analyst, who said of Bush's proposals, "It's hard to believe that some of these things aren't the normal course of business anyway. For instance, I don't think there's much military training going on during Thanksgiving holidays, so those airways are already open."

Do you have a game plan to make sure your Thanksgiving holiday travel is more tolerable? Or do you just grit your teeth. And recently, New York magazine gave suggestions about planning your next trips to the airport.

Photograph of planes in line for takeoff by vidiot on Flickr