The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is bracing for a record number of passengers over the Thanksgiving travel period.
The agency estimates that it will screen over 24 million passengers and crew at airport checkpoints around the country this holiday season, which started last Friday and lasts through Monday. That’s a 5 percent increase from last year.
The busiest travel day will be on Sunday, when around 2.6 million people will trickle through the nation’s airports, making it one of the top five busiest days in TSA’s history.The TSA also said it has noticed a change in travel patterns, with more passengers starting to leave last week instead of this week, and returning home Monday instead of Sunday.
“It’s an ‘all hands on deck’ time of year for TSA when we even seen TSA administrative staff helping at the checkpoints,” the agency said in a statement.
The surge in travel comes as the TSA has started implementing stricter screening procedures that require passengers to remove more items like large electronics form their carry-on bags and put them into separate bins for screening. The protocol change could catch some travelers off guard and slow down the screening process.
The TSA, which is deploying canine units to help speed up security lines, is advising travelers to arrive at the airport two hours prior to departure for domestic flights and three hours prior to departure for international flights.