WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – More than 53 million Americans are expected to travel this Thanksgiving, bringing fall travel back to pre-pandemic levels.
During the height of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, most Americans opted for smaller holiday gatherings, so it’s no surprise that Americans are eager to get together and spend time with family and friends.
According to AAA, 48.3 million travelers are expected to reach their destination via automobile and 4.2 million by airplane.
Meanwhile, the number of airline passengers traveling for Thanksgiving this year is expected to rebound to pre-coronavirus pandemic levels, but the Transportation Security Administration says it is ready to handle the surge.
Administrator David Pekoske said Wednesday he expects agency staffing to be sufficient for what’s traditionally TSA’s busiest travel period.
In 2019, a record 26 million passengers and crew passed through U.S. airport screening in the 11-day period around Thanksgiving. But that plummeted in 2020 as the pandemic kept people at home.
“This holiday season is expected to be a very busy one. There is a lot of pent-up demand. Families were not able to connect last year are reconnecting this year,” said Valerie Wise, air service and marketing manager, Wichita Airport Authority. “The TSA is estimating 20 million passengers flying for the holiday season.”
Allegiant started flying non-stop service to Orlando. On Friday, Allegiant will begin flying to Tampa/ St. Pete.
Wichita airport officials expect 2,900 people to fly out of Wichita the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after.
“This is getting close to the number we saw over Thanksgiving in 2019 where we had close to 3,000 passengers,” said Wise.
Wise said the busiest times for travel out of Wichita will be between 3:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. with nine flights s and between 8:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. with 11 flights.
If you are traveling by road in Kansas, you can track road conditions and routes on KanDrive by clicking here.