JFK Security Workers OK Strike as Holiday Travelers Pay More to Fly

An estimated 42 million passengers to fly for holidays, and pay more for it.

Dec. 14, 2012— -- More than 300 security guards at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport are threatening to go on strike just as an estimated 42 million people will be flying on airplanes for the holidays.

One group of workers Thursday approved a vote to strike Dec. 20 if their company, Air Serve, does not agree to their demands. A second group of workers employed by Global Elite Group will hold a similar vote today.

These employees at the nation's sixth-largest airport are nonunion workers hired by outside, private contractors. The workers want better training, functional radios and proper uniforms for cold and rainy weather.

The workers direct traffic in front of terminals and check tarmac gates to make sure they're secure, among other duties, according to The Associated Press.

Both companies say they are open to discussions with the workers, the AP reported.

It's unclear what impact a strike would have on JFK at the height of the holiday travel season as an estimated 42 million passengers will fly nationwide between Monday and Jan. 6.

Airline tickets are in high demand right now, which means more expensive ticket prices, according to a report released Thursday by Airlines for America. Planes are flying at 85 to 90 percent capacity for the 21-day holiday travel period.

The time for holiday airfare bargains is over. Non-stop ticket prices Christmas week are nearly double what they were at the beginning of the month, and rising by the day.

"The time to book was weeks ago, but if you haven't booked yet you have to pull the trigger right now," ABC News travel and lifestyle editor Genevieve Shaw Brown said. "Prices are going up not every day, but every single hour you wait."

The average domestic air fare is now $414, according to Travelocity, 9percent more expensive than last year's holiday season. The most expensive days to fly, up to $500 or more a ticket, are Dec. 21 and 22 and on the return Dec. 30 and 31, and New Years Day.

"The average price of a round-trip domestic ticket is over $400," Brown said. "That's a big bite out of someone's wallet, especially when you multiply that across several family members."

The cheaper days to fly? Christmas Day, and the three days after. Flying on those days can save as much as $330.

Baggage fees are another headache for travelers that can take a huge chunk out of wallets. Airlines apply excess-baggage surcharges that start at $90 on top of the now-normal checked-bag fee, and the scales at the airport are not always accurate. Use a home scale to make sure your bags aren't overweight.

Traveling by car might seem like the better option, but AAA is predicting 93.3 million Americans will hit the road this year, the highest total in six years. AAA says a record 84.4 million people will drive at least 50 miles between Dec. 22 and Jan. 1.

The average price will range between $3.20 and $3.40 a gallon by New Year's Day, according to AAA.

ABC News' Jim Avila contributed to this report.