Thanksgiving Travel: What is the Busiest Travel Day of the Year?

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Thanksgiving Travel What is the Busiest Travel Day of the Year

The Thanksgiving travel season started on Friday, November 17 and goes until Tuesday, November 28.

The Transportation Security Administration had a really busy year for travel. In fact, 2023 had seven out of the top 10 busiest travel days ever recorded by the TSA.

Thanksgiving is the beginning of the holiday travel season, and it is predicted to break a new record this year.

TSA Administrator David Pekoske stated in a press release that we anticipate this holiday season to be our most hectic yet. We are prepared for the expected high number of travelers and are working closely with airlines and airports to ensure we are ready for the busy holiday travel season.

The TSA is preparing to check the bags and belongings of over 30 million people in just 12 days. The holiday travel season started on Friday, November 17 and will continue until Tuesday, November 28.

Not just airports, but other modes of transportation may also experience a high number of travelers.

According to AAA, around 49.1 million Americans are expected to drive to their Thanksgiving destinations this year. This is a 1.7% increase compared to last year’s numbers in 2022.

Busiest Thanksgiving Travel Day

According to the TSA, historically, the days before Thanksgiving on Tuesday and Wednesday, as well as the Sunday after, are the busiest for travel.

On Tuesday, November 21, the agency plans to screen approximately 2.6 million people. On Wednesday, November 23, they expect to screen around 2.7 million people. Finally, on Sunday, November 26, they anticipate screening about 2.9 million passengers. Based on those estimates, it is expected that the Sunday after Thanksgiving will be the day with the highest travel activity.

Earlier this year, on June 30, TSA agents screened almost 2.9 million passengers nationwide. This set a new record for the most passengers screened in a single day.

Pekoske added that we will make an effort to keep wait times under 10 minutes for TSA PreCheck lanes and under 30 minutes for regular screening lanes.

The agency also mentioned that a lot of people, over 17.6 million, have signed up for TSA PreCheck, which is a record number.

What Can You Expect From the Thanksgiving Travel Season?

The TSA has provided some helpful tips to make your holiday travel go smoothly.

Pack Clear and Smartly

It’s important for passengers to always double check TSA’s page to see what items they can bring in their carry-on bags and checked bags. The agency recommends that travelers begin with empty bags because they are more likely to accidentally pack items that are not allowed.

Arrive Early

Due to a high number of passengers anticipated at airports this week, the TSA recommends arriving at least two hours before your flight.

Bring Your ID

According to the agency, it is important for travelers to have acceptable forms of ID before going to the airport. This will help make the process at TSA checkpoints go smoothly.

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