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Thanksgiving travel rush tests US airlines

i24NEWS - Reuters

clock 2 min read

A traveler pulls her baggage past an American flag hanging over the south security checkpoint as the Thanksgiving Day holiday approaches, November 23, 2021, at Denver International Airport in Denver.
AP Photo/David ZalubowskiA traveler pulls her baggage past an American flag hanging over the south security checkpoint as the Thanksgiving Day holiday approaches, November 23, 2021, at Denver International Airport in Denver.

Airlines aiming for on-time departures this week after a summer of flight cancellations and delays

Flights and airports across the United States are expected to be packed on Wednesday as millions of Americans fly to visit their families for the Thanksgiving holiday.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) expects to screen about 20 million air passengers during the travel period, compared with nearly 26 million in the same period in 2019. On Monday, the TSA screened 2.1 million US air passengers, the fifth consecutive day with checkpoint volume topping 2 million.

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The increase in passengers traveling for the holiday is a test for US airlines after a series of flight cancellations and delays over the summer disrupted travel plans as more Americans started taking to the skies as Covid-19 restrictions began to ease.

Southwest Airlines again cancelled flights in October amid the travel surge from pandemic lows.

One in five Americans (21 percent) say that they are concerned about flight delays and cancellations as the holiday approaches, according to a YouGov survey commissioned by the American Pecan Council.

Airlines are trying to allay these concerns and the weather should mostly help with on-time departures as calm weather is forecasted for many parts of the country for the week and into the weekend, although rain could slow down holiday travelers in the central and eastern US.

With the vaccination campaign in full swing, Americans are becoming more confident to travel and Thanksgiving week is shaping up to be the busiest travel week in two years since the pandemic began.

Travel group AAA estimates 53.4 million people will travel for the Thanksgiving holiday, up 13 percent from 2020, with air travel recovering to about 91 percent of pre-pandemic levels.