HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Travelers can expect to see bigger crowds at the airport this Thanksgiving holiday — following a dwindling number of passengers last year in the pandemic.
The Transportation Security Administration said they are prepared to handle the millions of travelers flying in and out of airports during the holiday period because they expect the number to surge compared to last year.
The Thanksgiving holiday travel period runs from this Friday through next Sunday, Nov. 28.
The TSA said about 20 million people will be screened through security checkpoints across the country. Troy Bell, with the Richmond International Airport, said it will be busy over the 12-day travel period. They expect over 150,000 travelers.
Nora Chester, a traveler at RIC, said she’s flying back to Los Angeles on Thanksgiving night with her granddaughter.
“I decided to travel to come see my granddaughter and my new great grandbaby,” she said. “She’s a month old so we came to spend Thanksgiving with them.”
Chester’s granddaughter, Loriel Whalley, said she was excited to travel Thursday.
“I was sitting next to the window side. It was scary because I thought we’d fall into the water,” she said.
Though it was her first time flying, she said she would fly again.
The busiest days during the Thanksgiving travel period are the Tuesday and Wednesday before the holiday and the Sunday after it, according to the TSA. The highest travel day in TSA history is the Sunday after Thanksgiving in 2019, with 2.9 million people screened through checkpoints that day.
Bell said they still haven’t recovered to pre-pandemic levels, but they aren’t far from it.
The TSA reminds passengers to wear a mask, pack smart, have proper identification, and remain aware when traveling. You are allowed to bring up to 12 ounces of hand sanitizer in your carry-on bag.