Thanksgiving Air Travel to Rebound to 2019 Levels, TSA Says

By The Associated Press
The Associated Press
The Associated Press
November 17, 2021 Updated: November 17, 2021

WASHINGTON—The number of airline passengers traveling for Thanksgiving this year is expected to rebound to pre-coronavirus pandemic levels, but the Transportation Security Administration says it is ready to handle the surge.

Administrator David Pekoske said Wednesday he expects agency staffing to be sufficient for what’s traditionally TSA’s busiest travel period.

“We are prepared,” Pekoske told ABC’s “Good Morning America.” He said travelers should expect long lines at airports and plan to spend a little more time getting through security.

David Pekoske
Transportation Security Administration administrator (TSA) David Pekoske listens during an event in Springfield, Va., on Sept. 11, 2021. (Luis M. Alvarez/AP Photo)

In 2019, a record 26 million passengers and crew passed through U.S. airport screening in the 11-day period around Thanksgiving. But that plummeted in 2020 as the pandemic kept people at home.

Pekoske told NBC’s “Today” on Wednesday he remains “very concerned” about the issue of unruly passengers as incidents on airplanes have continued.

“The level of unruly behavior is much higher than I’ve ever seen it,” he said.

The Federal Aviation Administration says it has referred 37 cases involving unruly airline passengers to the FBI for possible criminal prosecution since the number of disruptions on flights began to spike in January.