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Holiday travel takes flight 

Airline travel prices up as students depart during winter break

Holiday travel takes flight

Despite construction at McCarran International Airport, flight delays are not expected during the winter holiday season. Photo by: Devin Loretz

As this semester comes to a close, campus residents looking forward to spending the holidays with their families might be headed toward a hurdle as the hefty cost of travel deflates their wallets.

UNLV residence halls are set to close Dec. 13, at 12 p.m. for the holidays and are to re-open Jan. 11, 2009. Students cannot live on campus during this time so they are required to either go back home or find somewhere to stay locally.

Most students who have a car drive home to neighboring regions like southern California, northern Nevada, Utah and Arizona. However, flying still ranks as the number one form of travel for out-of-state students.

According to Priceline.com, a non stop flight from Las Vegas to Dallas for one person is $382 through American Airlines, and that is without the extra baggage fees. As the economy struggles, students have to think ahead.

“My college fund is paying for the tickets.” said Megan Seidel from Hershey, Pennsylvania. “I had money saved up [for travel arrangements].”

The average college student pays for tuition, room and board, books, class fees, computer and other fees each semester. Many students work more than one job to make ends meet and are concerned about their lack of funds.

In some situations students find creative ways to get home. UNLV sophomore Audra Hansston is driving to Phoenix before she hops on a plane headed to Sparta, Illinois.

“Surprisingly, it’s cheaper to fly out of Phoenix than Vegas,” Hansston said.

The economic downturn has forced many airlines to add service fees and baggage charges to their prices making travel much more expensive for students to head home for the holidays for only one month.

“To Eugene, [Ore.] there’s a pretty cheap flight, but it’s still [really expensive],” said Amber Huckaby, a freshman from Oakland, Ore.

Student travel costs are not the only thing that could put a damper on this holiday season. Ongoing projects at McCarran International Airport could lead to delays and traffic jams in the surrounding areas.

McCarran sits a block away from UNLV and is responsible for bringing in tourists and about 25 billion dollars to support the economy. Runway 25-L at McCarran is under construction causing flight patterns to change and become congested, but delays are not predicted.

Kelly Tengan, a senior studying kinesiology, is going back to Hawaii for winter break and agrees that delays are stressful, suggesting people should be accommodated through the airline.

“If [travelers] have to stay over night they should give them a room,” Tengan said.

To view a U.S. map of airport statuses and delays of major airports, visit www.faa.gov or www.mccarran.com for updates at McCarran.

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