Thanksgiving Air Travel Off to Booming Start

The experts and the pundits thought that Thanksgiving 2022 would produce a robust amount of airline travelers similar to 2019 given that this past spring and summer saw a pent-up demand practically busting down airport gates.

They weren’t wrong.


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While Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, isn’t typically a huge travel day since people want to be in their destinations long before the turkey comes out of the oven, the lead-up has been outstanding. In fact, it’s been fairly even with 2019, the year that travel leaders use to compare the travel comeback.

Normally the busiest travel week of the year, Thanksgiving 2022 has gotten off to a booming start. According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the number of airline travelers screened at U.S. airports on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (November 21-23) totaled 7,017,062 people. On the same dates in 2019, it was 7,313,608. Last year’s same dates totaled just over 6.6 million.

With restrictions loosened – the federal mask mandate was dropped earlier this year – and people itching to see loved ones again after two years, this week was expected to rival pre-pandemic air traffic. There will be a clearer picture when the week is over and numbers can correlate directly with the dates of Thanksgiving 2019 to see where travel stands.

Earlier this month, AAA estimated nearly 55 million would travel more than 50 miles from home for Thanksgiving, a figure much more in line with pre-pandemic travel.

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