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Millions take to roads and sky on one of the busiest travel days of the year

Published: Nov. 24, 2021 at 4:33 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Experts and officials are urging Thanksgiving travelers to “pack their patience,” whether they’re driving or flying.

“Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and the Sunday after Thanksgiving, are some of the busiest travel days of the year,” Patricia Mancha, a TSA Spokesperson, said.

Mancha tells KCBD that around 2 million travelers have been screened daily over the last six days and TSA expects 20 million to fly over this Thanksgiving holiday.

“TSA, airline and airport employees are all working together to get you and your loved ones to your final destination,” Mancha said. “So, do your part, arrive early, plan ahead and everyone will get to their destination safely.”

AAA forecasts 53.4 million Americans to travel for Thanksgiving, a 13 percent increase over 2020 and just five percent shy of 2019, the second-highest year on record.

“There certainly have been years where we’ve seen less travel, even when we didn’t have a pandemic,” AAA Spokesperson Daniel Armbruster said. “It really speaks to the demand for travel right now, just folks getting ready to get out and celebrate the holidays.”

Armbruster said that high gas prices aren’t discouraging many drivers from hitting the road. An eight percent increase in road travel is expected compared to last year. He tells KCBD 3.6 million Texans will travel by car.

“Right now in Lubbock, we’re looking at $2.90 [per gallon of gas] on average,” Armbruster said. “That average has dropped about two cents, three cents over the last week. We are seeing gas prices starting to drop across the state, albeit very slow.”

According to the data AAA uses to forecast holiday travel, the resurgence in drivers and flyers will continue through next year.

“Travel bookings are really surging right now, not only for Thanksgiving and the Christmas holidays, but even through 2022,” Armbruster said. “There’s so much demand for travel right now.”

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