Thanksgiving week airport volume surpasses pre-pandemic level for first time as 55M brace for travel

Thanksgiving week airport volume surpasses pre-pandemic level for first time as up to 55 million people brace for travel chaos as a cross country storm begins moving from the northwest

  • An estimated 55 million Americans will be traveling 50 miles or more this Thanksgiving holiday as airlines have already seen bigger numbers than pre-pandemic in 2019
  • Airports have seen 2,327,284 passengers passing through US airports on Monday, exceeding the 2,321,546 seen in 2019 
  • The American Automobile Association (AAA) expects the majority of travel to occur by car, with 49 million Americans projected to crowd the roadways this week
  • Another 4.5 million Americans plan to travel by air, while 1.43 million Americans plan to use other modes of travel, like buses and trains
  • A major storm is surging across the US, starting on Tuesday in the Northwest, that could bring heavy rainfall and snow in some areas 
  • The Northeast can expect rainfall on the holiday, while the West will see drier conditions toward the end of the week. Other places, such as Michigan, could get snow and Western New York could get flooding  

Advertisement

Millions of Thanksgiving travelers brace for a major storm to slide across the US this week as travel reaches higher than pre-pandemic levels. 

Airports have already seen 2,327,284 passengers passing through US airports on Monday, exceeding the 2,321,546 seen in 2019, according to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). 

The elevated numbers lean toward exceeding pre-pandemic levels as many Americans are desperate to get back up in the sky to see loved ones and new destinations after years of being stuck inside. 

Airports have seen an increased number of passengers as the travel industry continues to rebound, leaving many with high ticket prices as the holiday season kicks off. 

The average roundtrip domestic flight cost travelers around $350 this year, up 22 percent compared to 2019 and 43 percent from last year, according to Forbes. International flights are up 25 percent compared to 2019, averaging just under $800. 

As Christmas moves closer, fliers can expect to dish out even more money, with domestic flights ranging above $450 and international running about $1,300, Forbes reported. 

Despite the demand, airlines are reportedly operating with 15 percent fewer flights this week than in 2019, according to Cirium. Coupled with inflation driving up jet fuel prices, customers can expect travel chaos. 

Major airlines are offering fewer seats on flights this holiday season after suffering a summer of striking workers and low employment rates. American Airlines offered 5.1 percent fewer flights, while United and Delta offered 8.6 and 6.8 percent less flights. 

Airports have already seen 2,327,284 passengers passing through US airports on Monday, exceeding the 2,321,546 seen in 2019, according to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Long check-in lines are already piling up at JFK in NYC

Airports have already seen 2,327,284 passengers passing through US airports on Monday, exceeding the 2,321,546 seen in 2019, according to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Long check-in lines are already piling up at JFK in NYC

AAA expects the majority of travel to occur by car, with 49 million Americans projected to crowd the roadways this Thanksgiving season as the Belt Parkway in Queens, New York, is already experiencing delays and back ups

AAA expects the majority of travel to occur by car, with 49 million Americans projected to crowd the roadways this Thanksgiving season as the Belt Parkway in Queens, New York, is already experiencing delays and back ups

Busy travelers hustle through Chicago O'Hare on Monday as airports gear up for a busy week. Unlike the summer season, which was riddled with delays and cancelations, airlines have said they are more equipped to handle the holiday surge

Busy travelers hustle through Chicago O’Hare on Monday as airports gear up for a busy week. Unlike the summer season, which was riddled with delays and cancelations, airlines have said they are more equipped to handle the holiday surge 

Travelers can expect extremely long lines and jam packed flights, as seen in Orlando International Airport

Travelers can expect extremely long lines and jam packed flights, as seen in Orlando International Airport 

Airports have seen an increased number of passengers as the travel industry continues to rebound, leaving many with high ticket prices as the holiday season kicks off. 

Airlines and airports have said they are better prepared to handle the holiday crowds and minimize the chaos to avoid repeating this summer’s nightmare of thousands of delayed and canceled flights. 

An estimated 55 million will travel 50 miles or more for Thanksgiving this year, according to AAA, but travelers could be met with bad weather just a week after some parts of the US were hit with bad snow storms. 

The storm is expected to roll in on Tuesday across the Northwest, forecasted to bring in rain and snow. 

As the holiday approaches, it is expected to move West, drenching the Great Plains by Thanksgiving and threatening to bring winter weather across New Mexico and the Texas Panhandle Thursday into Friday, according to Accuweather.  

Travelers across the US can also expect an major storm to roll through the US, with the Northwest is expected to be hit today. The storm is expected to mainly hit the Northeast on Thanksgiving and Black Friday

Travelers across the US can also expect an major storm to roll through the US, with the Northwest is expected to be hit today. The storm is expected to mainly hit the Northeast on Thanksgiving and Black Friday 

Some northern areas, like Michigan, could experience snow and areas like Buffalo, New York, could have flooding if the snow from last week melts in the rain

Some northern areas, like Michigan, could experience snow and areas like Buffalo, New York, could have flooding if the snow from last week melts in the rain 

Colder temperatures are expected across the entirely of the US as the holiday season kicks off 

The South – from Memphis to New Orleans – can expect heavy thunderstorms and reduced visibility. However, widespread flooding is not expected, Accuweather said. 

The Midwest and Northern Plains should expect intermittent rainfall throughout the holiday and Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Colorado and New Mexico could get snow as temperatures drop. 

Other places, like Buffalo, New York, that got six feet of snow after experiencing a lake effect storm last week, could have more dire weather as the storm passes through. 

If heavy rainfall hits the area, flooding could occur as the snow melts. 

‘There could be a serious concern for flooding,’ AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brian Wimer said. 

If the storm lingers into the weekend, major airline hubs in Chicago, Atlanta, and New York could all be affected on some of the busiest travel days of the year. 

Following the holiday storm, the Great Lakes can expect to have colder conditions and gusty winds that could bring more snow.  

AAA expects the majority of travel to occur by car, with 49 million Americans projected to crowd the roadways this Thanksgiving season.

Experts expect severe road congestion around major cities, with traffic delays as much as double normal, and the highways around Atlanta, Chicago, New York City, and Los Angeles seeing the worst impact.

Another 4.5 million Americans plan to travel by air, reaching 98 percent of pre-pandemic levels even though airline schedules are still reduced by roughly 20 percent, AAA says.

‘Anticipate long TSA lines. If possible, avoid checking a bag to allow for more flexibility if flights are delayed or you need to reschedule,’ warned Mary Maguire, Vice President of Public and Government Affairs at AAA Northeast.

Travelers relax on the ground at JFK airport in NYC as they wait for their flights. Roughly 4.5 million Americans plan to travel by air, reaching 98 percent of pre-pandemic levels even though airline schedules are still reduced by roughly 20 percent

Travelers relax on the ground at JFK airport in NYC as they wait for their flights. Roughly 4.5 million Americans plan to travel by air, reaching 98 percent of pre-pandemic levels even though airline schedules are still reduced by roughly 20 percent

AAA says another 1.43 million Americans plan to use other modes of travel, like buses and trains, a sizeable 23 percent increase from last year (pictured: passengers at JFK)

AAA says another 1.43 million Americans plan to use other modes of travel, like buses and trains, a sizeable 23 percent increase from last year (pictured: passengers at JFK)

Travel has skyrocketed since COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted as many want to make up for lost time

 Travel has skyrocketed since COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted as many want to make up for lost time 

United Airlines said last week it expects to carry 5.5 million passengers during the Thanksgiving travel period, up about 12 percent from 2021

United Airlines said last week it expects to carry 5.5 million passengers during the Thanksgiving travel period, up about 12 percent from 2021

AAA says another 1.43 million Americans plan to use other modes of travel, like buses and trains, a sizeable 23 percent increase from last year.

‘Regardless of the mode of transportation you have chosen, expect crowds during your trip and at your destination. If your schedule is flexible, consider off-peak travel times during the holiday rush,’ said Maguire.

United Airlines said last week it expects to carry 5.5 million passengers during the Thanksgiving travel period, up about 12 percent from 2021.

The carrier will operate more than 3,700 flights per day on average during the holiday period from November 18 to 30. United forecasts it will carry about as many passengers over the holiday as in the pre-pandemic period in 2019.

United also predicts November 27 – the Sunday after Thanksgiving – will be its busiest travel day since the onset of the pandemic, with more than 460,000 passengers.

United also predicts November 27 -- the Sunday after Thanksgiving -- will be its busiest travel day since the onset of the pandemic, with more than 460,000 passengers

United also predicts November 27 — the Sunday after Thanksgiving — will be its busiest travel day since the onset of the pandemic, with more than 460,000 passengers

Travelers may experience rougher weather conditions on their way back home as the storm rolls through (pictured: a large crowd outside of TSA in Orlando)

Travelers may experience rougher weather conditions on their way back home as the storm rolls through (pictured: a large crowd outside of TSA in Orlando) 

The average roundtrip domestic flight cost travelers around $350 this year, up 22 percent compared to 2019 and 43 percent from last year

The average roundtrip domestic flight cost travelers around $350 this year, up 22 percent compared to 2019 and 43 percent from last year

As Christmas moves closer, fliers can expect to dish out even more money, with domestic flights ranging above $450 and international running about $1,300

As Christmas moves closer, fliers can expect to dish out even more money, with domestic flights ranging above $450 and international running about $1,300

Source

Related posts