Southwest Airlines canceled 13,300 flights from Dec. 22 until Dec. 29, causing a huge meltdown at airports and ruining the 2022 holiday for many, many travelers, according to The New York Times. Some travelers still have not recovered their luggage and belongings.

Randy Giancola has a response to that mess:  “I have never heard of an RV trip canceled by Southwest. No lost luggage with an RV. Lots of convenience, lower blood pressure,” he said.

The producer of the Pittsburgh RV Show, which begins Saturday, can back up that statement from his years of sales and promotion of those vehicles, including taking over ownership of his family’s business, Clem’s RV in Ellwood City and Stafford, Va., for eight years before selling it in 2015 and starting his full-time work on the show.  

“Once you travel by RV, it is hard to get away from. It is in your blood,” Giancola said.  “You can eat what you want, when you want. You can eat healthier.  It’s cheaper. It’s your bed that you have made up and washed the linens. There is a lot of pluses to an RV.”

The nine-day show provides an opportunity to tour vehicles, shop for accessories and discuss financing. (Courtesy of the Pittsburgh RV Show)

The Pittsburgh RV Show dates back to 1968, and attendance at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center returned to pre-pandemic levels last year, he said.  Giancola doesn’t give exact numbers on attendance, but the website of the longest running indoor RV show in the country reports that 30,000 people come to see the best and latest in a wide variety of RV models, from the smallest to the most luxurious models.

The show runs through Sunday, Jan. 15, and it is packed with RVs, so many that the show covers two floors of the convention center, or 9 acres, with some spillover of models and golf carts in ancillary and river overlook areas.  Thirteen RV dealers will be there along with more than 100 vendors, including tourism groups and companies and camping and RV accessory businesses.

Giancola said RV buying habits are returning to pre-pandemic times. Then people searched online as they checked out and bought vehicles to not only travel but also work from and move away from cities. “Buying habits are back to what they used to be: The customer shops, compares brands and what incentives dealers provide.  In the pandemic, with supply chain issues, people were just buying what they could get their hands on,” he said.

The benefits to checking out the models in person are important. “You can do your research, but you need to see it for your specific needs,” Giancola said.  “Do you fit in the shower? Is the bunk long and wide enough for someone to sleep on?  Can you fit your cast-iron skillet in the kitchen storage area?”

At the show, dealers will have specials — the lowest prices of the year, Giancola said. Manufacturers will provide incentives, and banks will be offering special financing deals.

He also believes it is important to build a relationship with a dealer. “Everything we buy is going to break and will need some type of service,” he said. “To have a local relationship with a local dealer who can help you in a pinch, that is priceless.”

The David L. Lawrence Convention Center transforms into nine acres of RV paradise Jan. 7-15. (Courtesy of the Pittsburgh RV Show)

He suggests that new attendees looking to buy plan to spend at least five hours at the show.  Those who have done their research might need just three hours. Models include lightweight trailers, travel trailers, fifth wheel trailers, toy haulers, diesel pushers, destination trailers, and Class A, B and C motor homes. 

Personally, every year he looks forward to seeing the improvements and the new features in the RVs. For example, small crossover vehicles are now able to tow trailers because smaller ones are available. Lightweight travel trailers are plentiful at this show this year, as dealers respond to that market, he said.

The larger RVs still have their place at the show, including the luxury fifth wheels that have been around for some time. “I was just through one today, the Riverstone, that has a queen bed that drops out of the ceiling,” Giancola said. “This thing just blew my mind. I never thought in my wildest imagination they would come up with something like this.”   

The Pittsburgh RV Show runs Jan. 7-15: Saturdays from 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Sundays from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Monday through Friday from 4-9 p.m. The David L. Lawrence Convention Center is at 1000 Fort Duquesne Blvd., Downtown. 

Admission: Adults $12, seniors 55-plus $10, active military $10, children 6-16 $5, and children 5 and under free. Tickets are available at the Convention Center box office or in advance via ShowClix. Buy one, get one admission available on Monday and Tuesday. Find complete information on the Pittsburgh RV website

RV-related products at the show include golf carts, campgrounds and home accessories. (Courtesy of the Pittsburgh RV Show)

Helen is a copy editor at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but she's currently on strike. Contact her at

Helen Fallon

Helen is a copy editor at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but she's currently on strike. Contact her at