CHICAGO, Nov. 24 (Reuters) – Airports and commercial airlines in the United States had one of their busiest days since the pandemic on Wednesday, when millions of Americans traveled for Thanksgiving to visit loved ones.

Thanksgiving Eve is usually the busiest day to travel. However, this year, working from home allowed many people to travel early and avoid the hustle and bustle on the last day.

“So far, so good,” said Lani Emanuel, who traveled to Seattle from Los Angeles to see her daughter. “It was a little difficult to find a parking space, but it doesn’t seem that crazy yet.”

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At Newark Airport, too, passengers did not have to wait long to pass the security checks. Some of the restaurants at the airport weren’t full either.

However, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) advised passengers to arrive earlier in order to have more time for safety. US airlines also increased their capacities and expected higher demand on Thanksgiving evening, data from Cirium showed.

Thanksgiving marks the start of the busiest Christmas season in two years. Rising COVID-19 vaccination rates have made people more confident about traveling, which has led to a surge in bookings.

U.S. consumers head into the holiday season with spending power too, thanks to a still hefty pile of leftover savings from multiple rounds of government pandemic aid and now double-digit year-over-year wage increases as businesses compete for scarce labor. (For a graph of expenses for food and accommodation, click on:

Wednesday’s data showed that overall consumer spending rose more than an expected 1.3% in October. Spending on costly items like cars hit the headlines, but the data also showed a broad spike in spending on services like travel and food, which was cut sharply during much of the COVID-19 pandemic. (For the graphic of the leisure expenses click on:

Americans have paid out record sums on rest, going out to eat, staying away from domestic and international travel in the last month. (For a chart of the expenses for foreign travel click on:


The TSA expects to screen approximately 20 million airline passengers during the Thanksgiving travel season, most since 2019, when nearly 26 million Americans were en route at the time. On Tuesday, the agency checked around 2.21 million US air passengers, the sixth day in a row with a checkpoint volume of over 2 million.

Lorie Dankers, a TSA spokeswoman, said the agency had hired 6,000 new officials this year and had enough staff to handle the increase in passenger numbers.

“So while we are recruiting, recruiting isn’t going to hold people back this holiday season,” said Dankers.

The vacation weekend is also a test for airlines after a spate of flight cancellations over the summer affected travel. One in five Americans is concerned about delays and cancellations, according to a survey by American Pecans / YouGov.

Have freight forwarders Staff increased and offered bonuses and other incentives to employees to ensure they had enough resources.

“We are fully staffed and ready to take our customers where they need to go safely, reliably and comfortably,” says Delta Air Lines (FROM N) Spokesman said.

The calm weather expected for Thanksgiving should also help avoid disruption.

The US passenger railway Amtrak also expects an increase in the number of passengers. A company spokesman said some trains were already almost at full capacity.

Tour group AAA estimates a total of 53.4 million people will travel for Thanksgiving, up 13% from 2020, with air traffic recovering to about 91% of pre-pandemic levels.

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Reporting by Rajesh Kumar Singh; additional coverage by David French, Dan Burns, David Shepardson, Alan Devall and Omar Younis; Editing by Stephen Coates, Barbara Lewis, Mark Porter, and Aurora Ellis

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.