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Air travel expected to be busier than ever before this holiday season

Posted: 11:44 AM, Nov 19, 2018
Updated: 2018-11-19 16:44:00Z

‘Tis the season for holiday travel! This Thanksgiving, air travel is expected to be busier than ever before.

“We’re expecting an all-time high for 2018 Thanksgiving travel,” says Sharon Pinkerton, vice president of Airlines for America.

U.S. airport officials say 30 million passengers are expected to travel through security checkpoints between Nov. 16 and Nov. 27. That’s up 5 percent from last year.

“We want to ensure our passengers can get through our security systems quicker than they do in the past,” says David Pekoske, an administrator with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

To speed the process up, Pekoske says new technology is being put into more airports, including automated screening lanes and improved carry-on scanners.

But there are things travelers should do, too, to ensure the security process moves as fast as possible.

The biggest checkpoint hold-ups: packing prohibited carry-on items and forgetting things in your pockets.

“My advice for PreCheck passengers is to just be patient,” Pekoske says.

Even PreCheck passengers will be gambling with longer lines this holiday.

“I’ve been in times where I want to get in the other line,” says traveler Dan Stagg, who has TSA PreCheck.

Stagg says he’s already seeing the long lines, even for PreCheck travelers. 

But there is some good news. Pekoske says PreCheck changes are also underway. However, you’ll have to wait until after the holidays to see them.

“We are going to put some procedures in place beginning after the first of the year, Pekoske says.

“Either adding more PreCheck dedicated lanes or changing internal procedures to accommodate that.”

One day for travelers to keep in mind: Nov. 25. It’s expected to be the busiest travel day of the year ahead of Christmas, so make sure to plan ahead.