“I had to be here extra quick”: Thanksgiving weekend expected to be busiest in history for air travel

Kate Cantrell and her 4-year-old daughter, Elmsley, arrived at New York’s LaGuardia Airport three hours before their six-hour trip home to New Mexico.

Cantrell said, “I’m hoping we get out of New York on time because of the weather.”

The TSA predicted that the Sunday would equal the Sunday after Thanksgiving in 2019—the busiest day in TSA history. For Paul and Victoria Vestuto, it’s the first time they’ve traveled together for the holidays since 2019.

“Getting nervous about the weather,” said Victoria Vestuto.

Paul Vestuto said, “If we get stuck, we’re here. If we get stuck, we’ll just find a sports bar.”

Airport workers in Philadelphia tried to lighten the mood of passengers stuck in long lines.

holiday travel massachusetts
Passengers line up at a security checkpoint before boarding their flights at Logan International Airport in Boston, Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022, the day before Thanksgiving.

Steven Seane / AP

Jose Cruz said, “The flight doesn’t take off for another hour, but I have to be here extra early, because that line takes about 2 hours.”

Most Americans travel by car on Sundays. In the Northeast, drivers were forced to escape the rain upon returning home. AAA said this year was the third busiest year ever for Thanksgiving travel on the road.

“We’re expecting a very busy holiday season for travelers, but also a very busy 2023 for travel,” said Doug Shupe of AAA.

And now AAA is anticipating the explosion of the Revenge Tour.

“They’re ready to go, and they’re spending more money on vacations,” Shupe said. “They are traveling far.”

While many people are returning home today – travel has changed since the pandemic. More Americans now work remotely. AAA expects the return trip to continue this week.

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