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“I had to be here extra early”: Thanksgiving weekend expected to be one of the busiest for air travel in history

Kate Cantrell and her 4-year-old daughter, Elmsley, arrived at New York’s LaGuardia airport three hours ahead of their six-hour journey home to New Mexico. 

“I’m hoping we get out of New York on time because of the weather,” Cantrell said. 

The TSA predicted Sunday would be on par with the Sunday after Thanksgiving in 2019 – which was the busiest day in TSA history. For Paul and Victoria Vestuto, it’s the first time they’ve traveled together for the holidays since 2019. 

“Getting nervous about the weather,” said Victoria Vestuto. 

“If we get stuck, we’re here. If we get stuck we’ll just find a sports bar,” said Paul Vestuto. 

Airport workers in Philadelphia tried to lighten the mood for travelers stuck on long lines. 

Holiday Travel Massachusetts
Travelers stand in line at a security checkpoint before boarding their flights the day before Thanksgiving, Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022, at Logan International Airport in Boston.

Steven Senne / AP


“Flight doesn’t board for another hour, but I had to be here extra early just in case that line takes about 2 hours,” said Josue Cruz.

Most Americans traveled by car on Sunday. In the Northeast, drivers were forced to dodge rain as they returned home. AAA said this year was the third-busiest ever for Thanksgiving travel on the road. 

“We’re anticipating a very busy holiday season for travelers but also a very busy 2023 for travel,” said Doug Shupe of AAA. 

And now AAA is anticipating an explosion of what it’s calling revenge travel. 

“They’re ready to go, and they’re spending more money on vacations,” Shupe said. “They’re traveling to farther distances.”

While many people are returning home today- travel has changed since the pandemic. More Americans now work remotely. AAA expects return travel to continue this week. 

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