TSA Expects Near Pre-Pandemic Travel Numbers This Thanksgiving Week

TSA Expects Near Pre-Pandemic Travel Numbers This Thanksgiving Week

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced it expects that travel volumes may reach pre-pandemic levels during the Thanksgiving holiday travel period.

TSA officials revealed the three busiest days during the holiday travel period—running between November 18-27—are typically the Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after the holiday.


The government agency predicts it could screen as many as 2.5 million passengers at checkpoints nationwide on Wednesday, November 23, and may surpass 2.5 million passengers on Sunday, November 27.

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TSA recorded the heaviest passenger volume in its history on the Sunday following Thanksgiving in 2019, where officers screened nearly 2.9 million passengers at checkpoints nationwide.

“We expect to be busier this year than last year at this time, and probably very close to pre-pandemic levels,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said. “We are prepared to handle the projected increase in travel volumes next week.”

In addition to the increase in expected traffic, security officials are looking to avoid any potential holdups in security lines by providing a list of thanksgiving items that will need to be transported in checked baggage instead of carry-on.

Food items often need additional security screening, so the TSA recommends placing them in an easily accessible location when packing carry-on bags. The agency said it could go through a checkpoint if it’s a solid item. However, if a traveler can spill, spread, spray, pump or pour it, and it’s larger than 3.4 ounces, then it should go in a checked bag.

Thanksgiving foods that can be carried through a TSA checkpoint

—Baked goods. Homemade or store-bought pies, cakes, cookies, brownies and other sweet treats.

—Meats. Turkey, chicken, ham, steak. Frozen, cooked or uncooked.

—Stuffing. Cooked, uncooked, in a box or in a bag.

—Casseroles. Traditional green beans and onion straws or something more exotic.

—Mac ‘n Cheese. Cooked in a pan or traveling with the ingredients to cook it at your destination.

—Fresh vegetables. Potatoes, yams, broccoli, green beans, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, beets, radishes, carrots, squash, greens.

—Fresh fruit. Apples, pears, pineapple, lemons, limes, cranberries, blueberries, strawberries, bananas, kiwi.



Thanksgiving foods that should be carefully packed with your checked baggage

—Cranberry sauce. Homemade or canned are spreadable, so check them.

—Gravy. Homemade or in a jar/can.

—Wine, champagne, sparking apple cider.

—Canned fruit or vegetables. It’s got liquid in the can, so check them.

—Preserves, jams and jellies. They are spreadable, so best to check them.

—Maple syrup.

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