Thanksgiving week travel expected to be almost as busy as pre-pandemic levels

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Thanksgiving week has always been the busiest travel season of the year, and experts expect the number of people flying and walking the road to be close to pre-pandemic numbers.

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With travel restrictions ending and COVID-19 deaths falling significantly across the United States, officials are seeing a significant increase in the number of travelers this week. While the surge doesn’t surpass the number of travelers seen in 2019 — before the pandemic — more people are traveling to see their loved ones this holiday.

more than 54.6 million people According to the American Automobile Association, expect to be on a plane or in a car or riding public transportation during Thanksgiving week.


“We expect this year to be busier than last year and probably pretty close to pre-pandemic levels,” said David Pekoske, Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration. said in a statement,

The TSA has seen more people travel over the holiday weekend this year than in recent years, when health officials recommended people skip non-essential travel amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

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TSA officials said the number of travelers this year could reach pre-2020 levels and as many as 2.5 million travelers could be screened at airports across the country on Wednesday. Passengers may possibly cross this number on Sunday.

That’s not far from the record-setting 2.9 million people who passed through TSA checkpoints on the Sunday after Thanksgiving in 2019.

Air travel and even family gatherings will look a lot different this year than in recent years, when stay-at-home and mask orders, and the devastating number of COVID-19 deaths prompted many people to skip the holiday. Motivated to abstain from travel. ,

This week, Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to President Biden, said people should keep the elderly and the immunocompromised in mind when gathering this holiday and avoid gatherings to reduce the risk of contracting the virus. Suggested to take a COVID-19 test first.

It was a significant change from Thanksgiving in 2020, when Fauci urged people to stay home, or keep gatherings small, and warned that being with people outside their home would put family members at risk.

But with COVID-19 numbers dwindling, more people are expected to gather for the holiday.

For Thanksgiving week, Tuesday is set to be the busiest day at airports across the country, with 48,082 flights expected, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, Wednesday will also be full of last-minute passengers, with an estimated 45,721 flights.

Travel congestion should ease over Thanksgiving and the following two days. Around 39,443 flights are expected to arrive on Saturday. However, by Sunday, the FAA expects congestion to return, with 46,790 flights that day.

For the record:

November 23, 2022 at 7:02 pmAn earlier version of this article gave a forecast for air travelers from the Federal Aviation Administration. FAA numbers are of expected flights.

The increase in travelers this weekend is also prompting airports and the TSA to warn people to arrive at airports early, given the potential for delays from traffic or long security lines.

los angeles international airport Expected over 200,000 passengers a day 28, according to a news release from Los Angeles World Airports.

It’s not just in the terminals that travelers at LAX may see delays or long lines. Airport officials said 97,000 daily vehicles would be trying to pick up or drop someone at the terminals.

The surge is still less than what was seen in 2019 before the pandemic, but airport officials note it is 20,000 more people a day than the same period last year.

On Sunday, LAX officials are expecting 215,000 passengers.

“LAX is ready to welcome guests to the busiest holiday travel period since 2019, and we’re asking travelers to ensure a stress-free experience by planning their parking, arriving extra early and taking time to relax.” Do your part to make it to the gate instead of causing traffic to detour,” Justin Erbachi, chief executive officer of Los Angeles World Airports, said in a statement.

Passengers are usually asked to arrive two hours before boarding time for domestic flights and three hours before international flights, but officials said people this week wanted a little more time. This will be especially true between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. and the middle of the afternoon, which are considered the busiest times.

According to the Automobile Club, about 4.5 million people will travel in Southern California this week, including 3.9 million who will be driving to their destinations.

That could mean residents won’t be looking forward to the return of a holiday tradition: traffic.


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