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By air and road, holiday travel could rival pre-pandemic levels in Maine this week

ODD Vanity Plates
Robert F. Bukaty
FILE - In this Feb. 2011 file photo, traffic approaches Maine Turnpike toll booths in Gardiner, Maine. A Maine law banning obscene license plates goes into effect Monday, Oct. 18, 2021, but getting the foul language off the roads and highways won't happen overnight.

Mainers are expected to take to the roads and airports in numbers not seen since 2019, before the pandemic reached Maine.

AAA of Northern New England spokesman Pat Moody says the worst time to leave for holiday travel may be Wednesday afternoon, "as everyday commuters mix with holiday travelers." Moody says better to start out Tuesday, or even, on Thanksgiving morning.

At Portland Jetport, manager Paul Bradbury says the busiest travel time will be Sunday, as people who left for holiday travel at different times, all try to make it home for the start of the work week. Bradbury says Jetport traffic, which reached pre-pandemic levels this summer, has fallen to just 85% of pre-pandemic levels as business travel remains sharply reduced.

AAA spokesman Moody reminds drivers to have their vehicles checked before leaving on a long trip. Otherwise, he says they could be one of the 400,000 drivers nationally expected to contact AAA for emergency road service during this holiday week.

Back at the Jetport, manager Bradbury reminds fliers they'll have to wear masks while in the terminals and on the airplane, except while eating. And he says travelers should pack carefully "to make sure you don't have any of those prohibited items that can't go through the (Transportation Security Administration) checkpoint."