Thanksgiving travel rush returns: Airport screening reaches pandemic highs

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Airports are busy again, and air travel is approaching pre-pandemic levels.

Spurred on by pre-Thanksgiving travel, 2.3 million people went through airport screenings on Wednesday, which the Transportation Security Administration said was the busiest day since traveling to the coronavirus lows in April 2020.

That’s more than double the 1.1 million people passing through TSA checkpoints the year before Thanksgiving, according to the TSA. database,

That’s also 12 percent less than the number of passengers screened on the same day in 2019, when TSA checkpoint workers saw 2.6 million people a few months before the pandemic.

The day before Thanksgiving is usually between busiest travel days of the year, along with the days after the holiday, when people return home.

TSA spokeswoman Laurie Dankers told Reuters that TSA has hired 6,000 new officers this year and has enough staff to deal with the increase in passenger numbers.

“So staffing, while we’re hiring, won’t slow people down this holiday season,” Dankers said.

Nevertheless, airlines advised passengers to arrive at airports early in case of long security lines. Delta Air Lines suggests two-plus hours earlier for domestic flights and three-plus hours earlier for international flights.