TSA Warns 2018 Thanksgiving Travel will be Unprecedented

TSA Warns 2018 Thanksgiving Travel Will Be Unprecedented

2018 holiday travel period expected to be the busiest travel season on record

Travel experts are already predicting the busiest Thanksgiving season at the airport on record. The Transportation Security Administration is projecting the holiday will see 25 million travelers, 7 percent more people flying than last year.

The traveling period is expected to last longer than normal, with people beginning their holiday journeys up to 10 days before Thanksgiving. The busiest travel days leading up to Thanksgiving will be the Friday and Wednesday before the holiday, with 2.6 million passengers and crew expected on each of those days. On a typical workday, about 2.1 million passengers are screened by TSA.

"People are trying to get a jump-start, head start on the crowds, but actually it's just as busy the Friday before Thanksgiving and the Monday before Thanksgiving," TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein said. "It starts to ramp up on Tuesday. Wednesday is huge, of course, the day before Thanksgiving. And Sunday, right after Thanksgiving, is probably one of the busiest days."

But even though travelers are staggering their travel start dates, the TSA says each individual day at the airport is not going to be any less crazy. As many as 50,000 people are expected to pass through LaGuardia Airport in New York City and at John F. Kennedy, there are to be as many as 100,000 people daily.

The TSA has released their annual recommendations to ensure that all travelers make their flights. According to a press release, these are the three tips travelers should keep in mind:

  1. Pack smart. Prepare for security when packing and ensure that there are no prohibited items in baggage. As always, passengers can bring pies, cakes and other baked goods through the checkpoints; however, liquids such as eggnog and maple syrup, and gels such as preserves and jellies, should go into checked bags. Liquids in carry-on must follow the 3-1-1 liquids rule. Download the MyTSA app or use the “What can I bring?” tool on tsa.gov. This allows you to type in an item to find out if you can bring it in your carry-on bag, checked bag, either or neither.

  2. Renew your TSA Pre✓® membership. Individuals who obtained TSA Pre✓® five years ago are now able to renew their TSA Pre✓® membership online. Individuals who do not have TSA Pre✓® should enroll now to get TSA Pre✓® benefits, available at more than 200 U.S. airports, in time for their holiday travel. Travelers enrolled in a trusted traveler program, like TSA Pre✓®, do not need to remove shoes, laptops, liquids, belts and light jackets. To find the trusted traveler program that best suits your travel needs, use the DHS trusted traveler comparison tool.

  3. Ask for passenger support. Travelers or families of passengers with disabilities and/or medical conditions may call the TSA Cares helpline toll free at 855-787-2227 at least 72 hours prior to flying with any questions about screening policies, procedures and to find out what to expect at the security checkpoint. TSA Cares also arranges assistance at the checkpoint.

This year, travelers may encounter new technologies that improve both security and the traveler experience. More than a dozen of the nation's largest airports have automated screening lanes, 16 have computed tomography X-ray scanners than enhance threat detection capabilities at checkpoints and now Atlanta is using new biometrics technology to verify the identity of passengers.

About the Author

Sydny Shepard is the Executive Editor of Campus Security & Life Safety.

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