AAA: Could be busiest Thanksgiving since 2005

Americans across the country are heading to their Thanksgiving destinations and AAA projects that some 48.5 million Americans will be using the nation's roadways.

Posted: Nov 22, 2018 7:13 PM
Updated: Nov 22, 2018 7:37 PM

Getting excited to eat your mother's roast turkey, your uncle's stuffing and your sister's famous green bean casserole?

First you have to get there.

A record 30.6 million passengers will travel on US airlines during the Thanksgiving holiday, up from an estimated 29 million passengers a year ago, according to a forecast by Airlines for America, an US airline trade organization.

The forecast translates to an estimated 2.55 million passengers per day, up 137,000 per day from a year ago.

The busiest flying day is projected to be Sunday, November 25, with an estimated 3.06 million passengers trying to get home. The second-busiest day will be Wednesday, November 21, with 2.93 million people flying the day before Thanksgiving.

The airline association defines the Thanksgiving travel season as starting Friday, November 16, and extending through Tuesday, November 27.

Flying on the holiday

The best day to fly during that 12-day period? It's Thanksgiving Day, with just 1.73 million people flying on the actual holiday.

The Transportation Security Administration expects to screen about 2.6 million passengers and crew on the Wednesday before the holiday, 500,000 more people than a typical weekday. On November 25, the Sunday after Thanksgiving, the agency estimates more than 2.7 million travelers will be flying home.

That's why TSA officials say they're adding more than 1,200 TSA officers and an additional 80 passenger screening canine teams over the holiday, which they define as November 16 through November 26.

"As Thanksgiving and the holiday travel seasons arrive, ensuring the safety and security of the millions of passengers traveling daily remains TSA's top priority," said TSA Administrator David Pekoske, in a statement.

"We marked several records over the spring and summer travel periods this year, screening more than 525 million passengers and crew. This upcoming season will be very busy as more passengers choose to fly, and TSA officers will be on duty over the holidays so travelers can enjoy theirs."

Prepare for a bumpy ride

While travelers can't predict the impact of rainy or snowy weather in late November, there are plenty of things people who don't fly a lot -- and those who do -- can do to be prepared for the possibility of bumpy rides.

"Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel times of the year because it's compressed into about a week -- the Tuesday before through the Tuesday after," says aviation expert Benét J. Wilson, owner and editor-in-chief of Aviation Queen. "As such, you must be prepared for delays and cancellations."

Even those of you who fly all the time for work and have Platinum or Diamond status on every airline don't usually fly with homemade pumpkin pie. (If you do, please post a picture and tag @CNNTravel.)

Patience and flexibility will be key to your happiness this Thanksgiving season, especially if bad weather snarls the nation's flight schedules.

Most people are driving

Some 48.5 million Americans will be getting to their destinations on the nation's roadways, according to AAA projections.

The motor and leisure travel company expects to answer roadside assistance calls for nearly 360,000 motorists this Thanksgiving, and dead batteries, lockouts and flat tires will be the leading reasons for the calls.

AAA's advice: "Oil changes, fluid level checks, battery tests and tire inspections go a long way toward reducing the chances of a breakdown."

Fly with pie

Really, you can take pie on a plane.

The key to transporting pies is packing them well, says Amanda Hesser, co-founder and CEO of Food52, Food52, a food and home cooking website.

She recommends using a strong, shallow box with a lid, whether it's Food 52's PieBox or a boots box or other right-sized container. Then line the box with a folded kitchen towel to keep the pie from sliding around.

"Once you lay the pie in the box, wedge a couple of ice packs -- wrapped in plastic bags, to absorb moisture -- around the pie to keep it in place and cool while you're in transit," she says. "Most pumpkin pies are fine at room temperature but the cooler your pie is, the firmer and more stable your filling will be while you're on the road.

"You'll have to carry the box of pie through security, and once on the plane, store it beneath the seat in front of you -- the pie is likely to get flattened by someone else's bag if you put it in the overhead compartment."

Our Thanksgiving guide to flying

Check your flight status. Check your flight status and print out your boarding passes at home. (It doesn't matter if it's sunny at home if your aircraft is coming from Chicago and they're having a snowstorm.)

Load up on apps. Most airlines, many airports and the TSA all have apps you can use to check on flying conditions, aircraft status and even food for sale. Some airlines let you rebook on their apps.

Pack snacks. The lines at your favorite airport eatery are going to be long, so have some snacks ready to eat, especially if you're facing a super-long TSA line.

Prepare your kids. That could mean bringing enough diapers, snacks and wipes or having enough shows loaded up on electronic devices to keep them busy. Just don't let them bug other people while traveling.

Pack your jellies. Eggnog, maple syrup, preserves and jellies need to go into checked bags. (With a checked bag, you can pack ALL of your crazy sweaters.)

Have a disability? Call TSA. Travelers with disabilities or medical conditions and their families can call the TSA Cares helpline toll free at 855-787-2227 at least 72 hours prior to flying to ask questions about screening policies and get assistance at checkpoints.

What else do you need? Noise-cancelling headphones, a sleep pillow and a charged battery for your gadgets? Bring them all.

Get to the airport early. If you clear the lines to check your bags and clear security early, there's more time to read or play with electronics, do yoga or talk to your traveling companions. (Are you sensing a "standing in line" theme?)

Stay chill. No amount of yelling at gate agents or flight attendants gets you from Point A to Point B any faster. In fact, being kind to airport and airline employees creates good will and might get you a better seat. (It sure helps with karma.)

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 119336

Reported Deaths: 3328
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds8109180
DeSoto734280
Harrison553785
Jackson488488
Rankin412386
Madison388094
Lee368682
Forrest313478
Jones298484
Washington2644100
Lauderdale2611135
Lafayette256043
Lamar234040
Oktibbeha206055
Bolivar205279
Neshoba1883111
Lowndes182862
Leflore173088
Panola172241
Sunflower165949
Warren156656
Monroe154873
Pontotoc151520
Marshall150530
Lincoln144859
Pike140956
Copiah139936
Scott128129
Coahoma126537
Union126025
Yazoo124534
Simpson124049
Grenada123139
Tate123039
Pearl River117960
Itawamba117827
Leake117042
Holmes115160
Adams110245
Prentiss109520
Alcorn105012
Wayne103422
George103020
Covington99729
Marion96944
Tippah95124
Hancock88128
Newton88128
Chickasaw87028
Winston85921
Tallahatchie85826
Tishomingo83141
Attala80927
Clarke78353
Clay71522
Jasper69817
Walthall64827
Calhoun63613
Smith60816
Noxubee60317
Yalobusha56616
Montgomery56523
Lawrence55314
Claiborne54216
Tunica53917
Perry52823
Carroll50912
Stone49814
Greene48218
Humphreys45817
Amite43413
Jefferson Davis42412
Quitman4246
Webster38213
Benton36911
Wilkinson34321
Kemper33415
Sharkey29115
Jefferson28110
Franklin2533
Choctaw2096
Issaquena1074
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 162720

Reported Deaths: 2735
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson23940385
Mobile17123319
Tuscaloosa10602141
Montgomery10503199
Madison955798
Shelby760565
Baldwin676869
Lee664965
Calhoun476562
Marshall447451
Etowah441952
Morgan430835
Houston423934
DeKalb355429
Elmore327858
St. Clair311342
Limestone297031
Walker287493
Talladega276437
Cullman266525
Lauderdale240543
Jackson225317
Autauga212631
Colbert210232
Franklin209432
Blount200925
Russell19833
Chilton192332
Dallas189227
Dale184952
Coffee183611
Covington177329
Escambia175831
Clarke138717
Chambers138047
Tallapoosa137287
Pike136414
Marion110931
Barbour10559
Marengo104622
Butler101941
Winston94713
Geneva9427
Pickens89018
Lawrence88533
Bibb86115
Randolph84616
Hale78130
Cherokee76414
Clay76312
Washington75812
Henry7316
Lowndes72128
Monroe66310
Bullock65117
Crenshaw61230
Fayette59913
Perry5996
Cleburne5799
Conecuh57213
Wilcox57112
Macon54320
Lamar5235
Sumter48621
Choctaw39512
Greene34516
Coosa2173
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