WASHINGTON (REUTERS) – Americans have begun hitting the roads and skies in large numbers in advance of Thursday’s (Nov 25) Thanksgiving holiday as weather so far looks favourable for travel plans.
On Sunday (Nov 21), the Transportation Security Administration screened 2.21 million US air passengers, the fourth consecutive day with checkpoint volume topping 2 million.
The TSA said Friday was the single busiest air travel day since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020, with 2.24 million travellers screened.
AccuWeather said Monday that “a largely quiet weather pattern should prevent widespread travel worries from the weather ahead of Thanksgiving.”
The weather forecaster added that “some Americans could still face minor weather-related delays during one of the busiest travel periods of the year – and weather for the trip home may be a different story.”
As vaccination rates have risen, many Americans are travelling for the holidays after skipping family gatherings last November and December.
Travel group AAA forecasts 53.4 million people will travel for the Thanksgiving holiday, up 13 per cent from 2020, with most travelers going by car. About 48.3 million Thanksgiving travellers are expected to go by car, up from 47.1 million last year, but still below 2019’s 49.9 million.
Those on the roads will face gasoline prices hovering near the highest since 2014, and the high prices likely will prompt some Americans not to make holiday trips.
Mr Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, said some Americans “are responding to the prices by slamming the car door shut and staying off the road.”
TSA expects to screen about 20 million air passengers during the busy Thanksgiving travel period, compared with nearly 26 million in the same period in 2019.
“We are ready,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske told reporters on Friday at Washington Reagan National Airport. “We will be able to handle the passenger volumes that we anticipate seeing.”