Javascript is not enabled.

Javascript must be enabled to use this site. Please enable Javascript in your browser and try again.

Skip to content
Content starts here
CLOSE ×
Search
Leaving AARP.org Website

You are now leaving AARP.org and going to a website that is not operated by AARP. A different privacy policy and terms of service will apply.

Traveling for Thanksgiving? You’re Not Alone

TSA predicts record number of travelers for the 2023 holiday travel season

spinner image passengers in a crowded TSA line at the Orlando Airport in December 2022.
The Transportation Security Administration expects to screen 30 million passengers from Nov. 17 to Nov. 28, 2023. Here, passengers wait in a security screening line in Orlando, Florida, on Dec. 22, 2022.
SOPA Images / Getty Images

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.

spinner image Image Alt Attribute

AARP Membership— $12 for your first year when you sign up for Automatic Renewal

Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP the Magazine. Find out how much you could save in a year with a membership. Learn more.

Join Now

“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.

Discover AARP Members Only Access

Join AARP to Continue

Already a Member?

AARP Travel Center

Or Call: 1-800-675-4318

Enter a valid departing date

Enter a valid returning date

Age of children:

Child under 2 must either sit in laps or in seats:

Enter a valid departing date

Age of children:

Child under 2 must either sit in laps or in seats:

Enter a valid departing date

Age of children:

Child under 2 must either sit in laps or in seats:

Flight 2

Enter a valid departing date

Flight 3

Enter a valid departing date

Flight 4

Enter a valid departing date

Flight 5

Enter a valid departing date

+ Add Another Flight

Enter a valid checking in date

Enter a valid checking out date


Occupants of Room 1:



Occupants of Room 2:



Occupants of Room 3:



Occupants of Room 4:



Occupants of Room 5:



Occupants of Room 6:



Occupants of Room 7:



Occupants of Room 8:


Enter a valid departing date

Enter a valid returning date

Age of children:

Occupants of Room 1:

Age of children:


Occupants of Room 2:

Age of children:


Occupants of Room 3:

Age of children:


Occupants of Room 4:

Age of children:


Occupants of Room 5:

Age of children:

Age of children:

Child under 2 must either sit in laps or in seats:

Enter a valid start date

Enter a valid drop off date

Select a valid to location

Select a month

Enter a valid from date

Enter a valid to date