Thanksgiving travel nearing pre-pandemic levels, TSA says
The agency has screened more than 2 million passengers daily since Nov. 18.
Thanksgiving travel is in full swing, and experts say Wednesday will be one of the busiest days at airports across the country.
The Transportation Security Administration is expecting passenger numbers to reach pre-pandemic levels. The agency reported Wednesday it has seen over 2 million passengers screened daily over the past six days.
The number represents 91% of the volume screened during the same time in 2019, TSA said.
United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby told ABC News his airline is expecting over 5 million customers over the holiday travel period.
"The eight biggest travel days that we've had since the pandemic started are going to be in the second half of November," Kirby said. "Really a big increase as people are finally able to get back and connect with their loved ones and be with family. And so we see a significant increase in demand and travel, and we're excited to welcome everyone back for the Thanksgiving holidays."
Delta Air Lines is expecting between 5.6-5.9 million passengers over the Thanksgiving holiday travel period. American Airlines said it will operate 92% of its 2019 flying schedule over the holiday.
Experts say the busiest airports across the country will be Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), Dallas Love-Field Airport (DAL) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
The TSA says its "confident" it can handle the travel rush. The agency said it expects the Sunday after Thanksgiving to be the busiest travel day of the year -- with an estimated 2.4 million passengers on Nov 28.
With the influx of passengers, experts say it's important to arrive at the airport early.
"As travel approaches where it was pre-pandemic, one of the things folks have not accounted for is that conditions have changed," Willis Orlando, senior product operations specialist at Scott's Cheap Flights, said in an interview with ABC News. "The best thing you can do for yourself is go into the situation preparing to wait, bring a snack, and, again, give the agents you're dealing with a little bit of grace because they're working under a tremendous amount of pressure right now."
ABC News' Sam Sweeney contributed to this report.
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