Holiday travel numbers are expected to rise to pre-pandemic levels on Thanksgiving

Holiday travel numbers are expected to rise to pre-pandemic levels on Thanksgiving

Jacksonville, Florida. The Transportation Security Administration expects to screen 20 million passengers between Friday and Sunday after Thanksgiving.

This is still lower than it was before the pandemic, but much higher than in recent months.

Long queues and crowded airports are expected to return to holiday traditions this year. Experts warn to call ahead, prepare for possible cancellations and delays, and expect crowds.

“The TSA is treating about twice as many people as they were at this time last year,” said Willis Orlando of Scott’s Cheap Flights, a flight alert service. “The numbers are fast approaching what they were in 2019.”

Starting Friday, airports are expected to see holiday travel numbers they haven’t seen in two years.

The US Transportation Security Administration is preparing to screen 2.21 million people on Tuesday (November 23) and Wednesday (November 24), two days before Thanksgiving.

Agents expect nearly 2.4 million passengers the Sunday (November 28) after Thanksgiving, but Orlando said mass layoffs of airline workers due to the pandemic are likely to lead to longer queues and crowded flights.


“The one thing we can all accept is that airlines know that demand comes every year on Thanksgiving and Christmas,” he said. “These are busy times for flying, so they have tried very hard to rebuild their crews in time for the holidays.”

Travelers prepare for flights at Jacksonville International Airport. (Copyright 2021 by WJXT News4Jax – All Rights Reserved.)

There have been several cases of unruly passengers throughout the pandemic. Orlando said tensions could rise with crowded planes.

“If you see an accident, do your best as another passenger to help slow it down,” Orlando said. “Sometimes you have more leverage. You are more empathetic than the airline agent. Nobody wants things to get out of hand because that means the plane might have to stop and push everyone back to their schedules.”

In October, Southwest Airlines canceled nearly 2,000 flights. Over the Halloween weekend, American Airlines canceled another 2,000.

Orlando suggests if you’re planning to travel over the next week, to frequently check the status of your flight online or through an app.

Copyright 2021 by WJXT News4Jax – All Rights Reserved.

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