TSA anticipates 42 million travelers this holiday season

Dec 20, 2019

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Excited to get away for the holidays? So are 42 million other people.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) anticipates another high-volume travel season this year from now through Jan. 5, 2020, estimating that 42 million travelers will pass through security screening checkpoints nationwide during that time. TSA data backs up similar predictions from major U.S. airlines, which also anticipate a record-breaking travel season. The busiest day is expected to be Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019. Christmas Eve is expected to be the slowest day of the holiday season.

TSA recommends that travelers arrive early enough at the airport to allow time to check in and get through the security screening process. Expect long queues and waits, especially if you don’t have TSA PreCheck or CLEAR biometric screening.

Related: TSA PreCheck versus Clear: Which one to get?

Here’s a brief checklist of all the basics for getting through the hectic holiday rush:

  • Arrive earlier than you think you need to, and plan ahead for traffic and delays
  • Empty your water bottles and similar containers before entering the security screening line
  • Purchase a $19 (one-way) insurance plan for your flight in case of delays or cancellations
  • Make sure your boarding pass is marked PreCheck; if not, go to the reservation desk and ask for a new boarding pass
  • If you have lounge access, make sure you know which lounges are available to you, where they are and when they are open
  • Sign up for CLEAR by Dec. 22, 2019, for a $60 discount and bonus $10 Amazon gift card

If CLEAR isn’t an option in your airport, don’t forget that many travel rewards credit cards reimburse you for the sign-up fee for Global Entry and TSA PreCheck. The sign-up process, however, can’t be done on the spot as it often is with CLEAR.

For more suggestions on ways to minimize stress at the holidays, check out TPG Family’s nine tips for better holiday travel.

Featured image by Issarawat Tattong/Getty Images

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