The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) expects airport security checkpoints nationwide to be busy during the upcoming Thanksgiving travel period, from Friday, Nov. 19, through Sunday, Nov. 28. The agency is prepared to handle the increase in passenger volume for the holiday. TSA expects to screen about 20 million passengers during the Thanksgiving holiday.
“We anticipate that travel may be very close to pre-pandemic levels this holiday, and we are staffed and prepared for the holiday travelers. We have deployed technologies that enhance detection capabilities and reduce physical contact, and it’s equally important that passengers are prepared with travel tips for the most efficient checkpoint experience,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske. “With overall vaccination rates improving nationwide and greater confidence in healthy travel, there will be more people traveling, so plan ahead, remain vigilant and practice kindness.”
Typically, the busiest days during the Thanksgiving travel period are Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving and Sunday afterward. The highest travel day in TSA’s history was the Sunday after Thanksgiving of 2019 (pre-pandemic) when nearly 2.9 million individuals were screened at TSA security checkpoints nationwide. Travel volume this year is not expected to reach pre-pandemic levels, but it is expected to be notably higher in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving.
The best way to ensure a smooth trip through the security screening process is to arrive early and be prepared. Travelers are encouraged to allow time to park their cars or return rental cars, check their bags with their airline, and get their boarding passes before heading to the security checkpoint. TSA recommends that travelers get to the terminal with plenty of time before their scheduled flight.
“I recommend that travelers pay attention to the guidance that the TSA officers are providing at the checkpoint,” Pekoske added. “They may be directing you to a shorter line or guiding you around someone who is moving slowly. And they may be giving you some advice that will lessen the likelihood that you’ll need a pat-down.”