There will be a record number of people on the road and in the sky this Thanksgiving holiday, according to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and AAA.
AAA expects 55.4 million travelers to journey 50 miles or more away from home for Thanksgiving, an increase of 2.3 percent over 2022. The auto club said this is the third-highest forecast since tracking began in 2000. The club forecasts most travelers (49.1 million) will drive, an increase of 1.7 percent over last year. The organization puts the number traveling by plane at 4.7 million, which it said is the most air travelers for Thanksgiving since 2005.
“For many Americans, Thanksgiving and travel go hand in hand, and this holiday, we expect more people on the roads, skies and seas compared to 2022,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA Travel, in a news release.
Traditionally, the Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving are the busiest days to travel ahead of the holiday; Sunday is generally the busiest day to return.
TSA forecasts it will screen 30 million passengers from Nov. 17 through Nov. 28, and it expects to screen 2.6 million passengers on Tuesday, Nov. 21, and 2.7 million passengers on Wednesday, Nov. 22. The agency projects it will screen 2.9 million passengers on Sunday, Nov. 26.
“We expect this holiday season to be our busiest ever. In 2023, we have already seen seven of the top 10 busiest travel days in TSA’s history,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske in a news release.
The number of passengers the agency has screened this year has increased as Americans ramped up travel after the pandemic. During the summer holidays, the agency screened 2.7 million passengers on May 26, ahead of the Memorial Day weekend; nearly 2.9 million on June 30 before Independence Day; and 2.7 million passengers Sept. 1, ahead of the Labor Day weekend. TSA said June 30 currently holds the record for the most passengers screened in the agency’s history.
The holiday travel season forecasts come after strong travel demand this summer and cancellations stemming from a holiday winter storm in December.
As you prepare to head to the airport this holiday season, keep in mind what can (turkey, pies) and cannot (gravy, cranberry sauce, unless it’s 3.4 ounces or less) go through security. Don’t forget to pack your patience and be kind. Remember, you’re on this journey with your fellow travelers, and you all want to arrive at your destinations safely.