Thanksgiving Air Travel Expected To Reach Pre-Pandemic Levels

By Bill Galluccio

November 18, 2021

Photo: Getty Images

The Transportation Security Administration is bracing for a huge influx of people traveling for Thanksgiving. According to AAA estimates, 53 million people are expected to travel this year, a 13% increase from last year.

The TSA is expecting the number of travelers to reach levels not seen since 2019, several months before the coronavirus pandemic shut down the world. That year a record 26 million people passed through TSA screenings in the 11-day period leading up the Thanksgiving.

TSA Administrator David Pekoske told Good Morning America that while the agency will be "prepared" to handle the increase in passengers, they should expect long lines and give themselves extra time when arriving at the airport.

In addition to the potential for a record number of travelers creating headaches at the airport, a significant winter storm could slam the Northeast next week, causing travel delays. While the computer forecasting models are split on whether the storm will develop, a massive cold front is expected to bring some of the lowest temperatures of the fall to states across the country. In addition to cold temperatures, the front could bring high winds and the potential for heavy rain as it moves east.

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