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This has been a record-breaking summer for travel. Just like when nearly four million people traveled by air for Independence Day, a record number of travelers are expected to fly on US airlines during the summer’s final holiday weekend.

During Labor Day Weekend, 16.5 million people are expected to fly — a 3.5% increase from 2017, according to Airlines for America, the trade group for US air carriers. Over the four-day weekend, US carriers are expected to fly roughly 2.4 million passengers per day, which is an increase of 79,000 travelers per day during this weekend in 2017.

The airlines will offer an additional 2.76 million seats each day in order to accommodate the influx of travelers. The trade group expects Friday, Aug. 31 to be the busiest travel day of the week with an estimated 2.76 million passengers flying onboard US carriers worldwide.

“2018 has been an exceptionally busy year for air travel, with 20 out of the 25 busiest days ever recorded by the Transportation Security Administration occurring so far this year,” Airlines for America Vice President and Chief Economist John Heimlich said in a statement. 

If you’re one of the 16.5 million travelers flying this holiday weekend, there are several ways to make your airport experience a little less hectic and more enjoyable. Start by speeding through security by being enrolled in a program like CLEAR; you can essentially skip the security line — even without TSA pre-check. CLEAR uses biometric technology to verify your identity and all you need to do is hand a TSA officer your boarding pass and continue to the actual security screening.  A CLEAR membership costs $179 annually, or $149 using promo code TPG149.

Even though TSA pre-check lines can sometimes still be incredibly long, it’s still better to have it than not. Having TSA pre-check, especially during a holiday weekend, will save you time and stress by not having to remove your shoes, liquids or electronics. As a reminder, plenty of credit cards offer Pre-check (and global entry) credit to help avoid the membership fees.

Once you’ve escaped the security lines, there’s no need to hang with the crowds while you wait to board your flight. With access to more than 12,000 lounges worldwide, a Priory Pass member is one of the best ways to ensure relaxation at the airport. Additionally, credit cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Citi Prestige Card and the Platinum Card from American Express are among the cards that can get you and a couple guests into the most airport lounges.

Know before you go.

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Intro APR on Purchases
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Annual Fee
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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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