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Holiday travel sends TSA screens to pandemic high

(SOT: Terry Bohlke, traveling from Nashville)”It’s getting back to normal.. at least the new normal.”Airports around the U.S. are filling up this weekend as more Americans prepare to fly home for the Thanksgiving holiday than last year.The U.S. Transportation Security Administration screened 2.24 million airline passengers on Friday, that’s the highest number of screenings since the health crisis grounded travel to a halt in March 2020.And that’s just the beginning. Officials at the TSA expect to screen about 20 million air passengers during the busy Thanksgiving travel period, which stretches from Nov. 19 to Nov. 28.(SOT: Daniel Duran, flying to L.A.)”I’m actually nervous to be in the airport. There’s a lot of people today.”Social distancing and mask-wearing inside most airports are now the social norm, and all airlines require passengers to keep masks on during flights.Passengers said vaccines made them feel comfortable enough to fly again and get back to what they missed most…family.(SOT: Joey Neil Nocon, flying to L.A.)”Especially with the way things are going you want to make sure you spend as much time with people you know.”(SOT: Hannah Hall, traveling from San Antonio)”Amazing. I love these two people so much. It’s nice to be back. It’s a little reunion.”Major airlines have been preparing for travel numbers that could come pretty close to pre-pandemic levels.Delta Air Lines expects to fly up to 5.6 million passengers from Friday through Nov. 30, that’s nearly 300% above last year’s Thanksgiving period, but still below the 6.3 million passengers who flew the Thanksgiving holiday period in 2019.Mother nature – however – could be a problem.A weather pattern stretching from the Great Lakes to the northeast and southeast is forecasted to bring with it freezing temperatures and rain leading up to Thursday, which could cause trouble for travelers, since weather disruptions have led to a lot of delayed and cancelled flights since the summer.

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