TSA says it’s prepared for Thanksgiving rush
There will of course be some big differences — mask requirements, for one — but holiday travel this year will look very much like it did pre-pandemic, at least in terms of volume. The TSA expects airline passenger levels to equal 2019, when a record 26 million passengers and flight crew members passed through security at U.S. airports in the 11-day period around Thanksgiving.
Administrator David Pekoske told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that TSA staffing levels will be sufficient to handle the glut of people flying for their holiday travel. What remains to be seen is how well airlines can handle the volume. They have had difficulty adjusting to the upswing in demand for flights as the economy recovers, with staffing shortages, weather, power outages, and other issues leading to massive amounts of cancellations and delays this year.
“The level of unruly behavior is much higher than I’ve seen it,” Pekoske said on NBC’s “Today.”
The TSA begins a vaccine mandate Monday, but Pekoske said he is not concerned about employees quitting in protest and making security lines longer.
“In fact, implementation of the mandate will make travel safer and healthier for everyone,” he said. “So, we see quite a significant increase in the number of our officers that are vaccinated, and I’m very confident that there will be no impact for Thanksgiving,” he said on “Good Morning America.”
As always for holiday travel and other busy times, passengers should leave themselves extra time to go through TSA security checks to ensure they make their flights.