The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) expects to screen some 5.3 million travelers at America’s airports in the two days before Thanksgiving.
That includes some 2.6 million passengers on Tuesday and 2.7 million on Wednesday.
For the trip back home, the TSA is anticipating some 2.9 million passengers on Sunday, which would exceed a record set on June 30—the Friday ahead of the July 4th holiday weekend.
And nearly ten times as many Americans plan to hit the roads. AAA predicts that altogether, some 55.5 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles from their homes between Wednesday and Sunday.
The record travel is happening as powerful storms are forecast to dump rain and snow across large swaths of the country, along with damaging winds, potential hail and even tornadoes.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said during a news conference Monday that the government has been gearing up for the record Thanksgiving holiday travel by hiring more air traffic controllers, opening new air routes along the East Coast and providing grants to airports for snowplows and de-icing equipment.
Even so, Buttigieg is warning travelers to keep a close eye on road conditions and flight times before heading out, calling Mother Nature “the X factor in all of this.”
Some good news: traveling is generally cheaper this Thanksgiving compared to last year. The travel site Hopper reports that airfares are averaging $268 per ticket, down 14% from a year ago. And AAA finds nationwide average price at the gas pump is about 45 cents less a gallon—$3.30 this Monday compared to $3.67 a year ago.