TSA says Thanksgiving air travel rebounds to 2019 levels

TSA says Thanksgiving air travel rebounds to 2019 levels

Washington The number of airline passengers flying to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is expected to rebound to pre-coronavirus pandemic levels, but the Transportation Security Administration says it is prepared to deal with the increase.

Director David Pekoske said Wednesday that he expects the agency’s staff to be sufficient for the TSA’s busiest travel period.

We’re ready,” Pekosky told ABC’s Good Morning America. He said travelers should expect long lines at airports and plan to spend more time going through security.

In 2019, 26 million passengers and crew passed through US airport screening in the 11-day period around Thanksgiving, a record. But that declined in 2020 as the pandemic kept people at home.

Pekoske said he doesn’t think the vaccine mandate that goes into effect for TSA agents on Monday will have any impact on employees at Thanksgiving next week.

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“Indeed, implementing the mandate will make travel safer and healthier for all,” he said. “So we’re seeing a huge increase in the number of our officers being vaccinated, and I’m very confident that there will be no impact on Thanksgiving.”

Pekosky told NBC’s “Today” program on Wednesday that he remains “extremely concerned” about the rowdy passenger issue as accidents continue on planes.

“The level of unbridled behavior is much higher than I’ve ever seen,” he said.

The Federal Aviation Administration said it has referred 37 cases of disorderly airline passengers to the FBI for possible criminal prosecution since the number of flight disruptions began to rise in January.

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