Flying for Thanksgiving? Brace yourself for record crowds

Nov 16, 2019

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Expect big crowds and long lines if you’re flying next week for the Thanksgiving holiday.

It’s the same advice flyers have been given for the past several years, and it will be true again in 2019 as a record number of air travelers are expected for the holiday.

The Transportation Security Administration expects to screen 26.8 million passengers and airline workers between Friday, Nov. 22, and Monday, Dec 2. Thanksgiving Day is on Thursday, Nov. 28.

That count would be a 4% increase over the comparable window in 2018, which currently stands as the busiest Thanksgiving ever for air travel.

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“We expect record-breaking travel volume this 2019 holiday season, following our busiest summer ever,” Patricia Cogswell, TSA’s Acting Deputy Administrator, said in a statement.

The TSA says the busiest travel day of the Thanksgiving period will be Nov. 27, the Wednesday that precedes Thanksgiving. More than 2.7 million passengers and crew are expected that day alone, according to TSA.

However, Airlines for America (A4A) — the trade group that represents most big U.S. airlines — says its projections show that the Sunday after Thanksgiving (Dec. 1) will be the busiest. In fact, A4A expects that Sunday to be the busiest single travel day ever for the U.S. airline industry, with 3.1 million passengers flying on U.S. airlines.

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TSA projects Sunday to be the second busiest of the period.

Thanksgiving Day itself is projected to be the slowest of the holiday window.

Featured photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.


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