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US airlines are predicting a 5.2% raise in air passenger traffic during the peak Christmas and New Year’s travel days, a trade group said in its holiday air travel forecast Tuesday.

Airlines for America said that US carriers will shuttle at least 2.5 million people each day during the peak holiday stretch, which spans the 18 days between Dec. 20 to Jan. 6. That adds up to a total of about 45.7 million passengers flying in the US during the holidays.

An estimated 126,000 more passengers than the same time in 2017 are expected to fly each day during those jam-packed two and a half weeks. Luckily, US airlines have added 143,000 seats per day to accommodate this seasonal swell of travelers.

Flyers booked to travel on the Friday before Christmas, Dec. 21, should prepare for a little holly jolly mayhem. That is projected to be the busiest air travel day during this hectic period with 2.91 million passengers. On the other hand, if you’re scheduled to fly on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, you can expect to find a little more zen when you arrive at the airport, as those two days are projected to pack the least amount of passengers.

Don’t forget that during desperate times like these, it is well worth it to have services like TSA PreCheck or CLEAR biometric screening to avoid the inevitable snaking lines at security checkpoints. Plus, many travel rewards credit cards will reimburse you for the sign-up fee.

After this year’s Thanksgiving travel numbers broke all kinds of records, it is probably wise to heed Airlines for America’s prediction and prepare for possible airport pandemonium this holiday season.

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Annual Fee
$250
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