US Airlines Are Predicting Record-High Thanksgiving Travel

Nov 9, 2016

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Just when it seemed as if the painful security line waits of 2016 were firmly in the past, airports across America are bracing for what’s expected to be a record-breaking Thanksgiving travel season.

Airlines for America, an airline trade group, recently announced that it’s expecting approximately 27.3 million people to make their way through airports across the US between November 18 and November 29, the 12-day period known as the “Thanksgiving travel” season. If those numbers actually pan out, they’ll make 2016 a record holiday travel year, up 2.5 percent from last year’s Turkey Day totals.

While more travelers mean more passengers who will need to be cleared to fly, industry experts are not anticipating another onslaught of #IHateTheWait Instagram posts. In an effort to combat the long security lines that plagued so many airports earlier this year, airlines, airports and the TSA have all beefed up staffing across the board. At the same time, automated screening lines have been installed at some US airports while some of the country’s busiest hubs have adopted state-of-the-art technology, like the new piece of operational software currently being tested in Terminal 4 at JFK.

But the biggest change, according an article by the Seattle Times, is the number of people who are now enrolled in TSA PreCheck — nearly four million compared to the 1.75 million who were part of it last year.

“The doubled enrollment in expedited-screening programs from one year ago gives us great reason for optimism about how smooth the process will be,” John Heimlich, Airlines for America’s chief economist, told the Seattle Times and other reporters during a press conference last week, adding that weather will continue to be a wild card factor regardless.

Speaking of weather: where you’re heading this Thanksgiving could also play a part in the size of the crowds that’ll surround you. The travel analysts at just released their annual “Holidata” report, which pinpoints where the popular online booking site’s customers will be traveling this holiday season.

This year, Las Vegas took the top spot, followed by New York (who doesn’t love the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade?) and a bevy of warm-weather destinations — including Cancun, Orlando, Punta Cana, Playa Del Carmen and Honolulu — while San Francisco, Anaheim, Chicago, New Orleans and San Diego also made the cut. International travel is big this year, too. In addition to the aforementioned abroad locales, London, Paris and Cabo San Lucas all made it into the top 15 places to give thanks this year — let’s face it, an icy margarita beats a cup of mulled cider every time.

H/T: Seattle Times

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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