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Airports brace for big crowds traveling for Thanksgiving

Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 6:13 AM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The holiday travel rush is here and if you’re leaving home for Thanksgiving, you need to brace yourself. No matter how you’re planning to get where you’re going, it’s going to be crowded.

AAA anticipates more than 53.4 million Americans will travel for Thanksgiving this week. That’s a 13% increase from 2020, and close to reaching pre-pandemic levels. Airports across the country are bracing for big crowds, especially Tuesday and Wednesday.

Flight bookings are up over 100% since last year, and air travel has already broken a pandemic record, according to AAA. The Transportation Security Administration says more than two million people passed through U.S. airport security checkpoints on Friday alone. That’s the highest checkpoint volume for a single day since the pandemic began. A

Staffing shortages and mass cancellations we’ve seen in recent months have airports everywhere bracing for those kinds of challenges.

About 90% of those travelling are expected to drive this week, and they will find that gas, rental cars, and hotels are all significantly more expensive than last year. Drivers should also expect to spend some time sitting in traffic.

The TSA anticipates the Sunday after Thanksgiving will likely see the highest numbers of air travelers with people returning home. But they will probably not reach the all-time record set on the same day in 2019 when 2.9 million people were screened at airports.

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