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TSA expects record crowds at US airports post-Thanksgiving

The record-breaking numbers will mean long lines, delays, and unfortunately, due to storms, maybe some cancellations.
Posted at 7:28 PM, Nov 26, 2023

Long lines and big crowds in what is expected to be one of the busiest travel seasons in U.S. history.

The Transportation Security Administration says it expects Sunday to be a record-breaking travel day and estimates it will screen 2.9 million passengers.

With inevitable delays and cancellations as a post-Thanksgiving storm moves from the Plains to the East Coast, putting millions in the path of storms.

Passengers traveling coast-to-coast are hoping for the best.

“We’re manifesting all good. It's not gonna happen. It's gonna be smooth sailing," a traveler said.

Many airports nationwide have added new screening technology that allows travelers to keep everything inside their carry-on bags.

However, officials are still urging travelers to arrive early, just in case.

“It gives us greater security cability, better detection, but it does take a little longer to go through the process,” said Aaron Batt, TSA Federal Security Director in Indianapolis.

The AAA projects that more than 55 million Americans are expected to travel this week, with 4.7 million people expected to fly; that’s up 6.6% from last year.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg says the White House is working closely with the airlines to ensure as smooth an operation as possible.

"While we can't control the weather, we will also be using every tool at our disposal to keep cancellations and delays as low as possible in the first place, including working collaboratively with airlines, wherever that is the appropriate approach,” said Buttigieg.

The Biden administration has put pressure on U.S. airlines in an effort to improve holiday air travel, including the majority of the 10 largest U.S. airlines, to guarantee free rebooking, meals, hotels, or ground transportation to and from the hotel when an airline is at fault for a delay or cancellation.

Travelers are also entitled to a full cash refund if they choose not to rebook.

"And if you have trouble getting an airline to honor that agreement, that's where we can come in. Make sure to let us know,” said Buttigieg.

Apart from weather-related issues, a shortage of air traffic controllers is contributing to delays and cancellations. The Biden administration is addressing the issue and has hired 1,500 more controllers this year, with a goal of adding 1,800 more next year.

Flight Aware is reporting more than 5,000 delayed flights within, into, or out of the United States. But despite bad weather in some areas, cancellations have leveled off at 39.

25 deaths, multiple injured in car crashes across US on Thanksgiving
Traffic not moving much in California.

25 deaths, multiple injured in car crashes across US on Thanksgiving

These numbers may still go up as the holiday travel period, which started on Nov. 22 at 6 p.m. ET, runs until Nov. 26 at 11:59 p.m. ET.