Almost 27 million travelers are expected to pass through Transportation Security Administration checkpoints over the Thanksgiving holiday, a 4% increase from 2018, the agency said.
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From Nov. 22 through Dec. 2, the projected 26.8 million flyers will include 2.7 million on Nov. 27, the day before Thanksgiving, and 2.8 million on Dec. 1, the following Sunday.
The TSA typically screens about 2.1 million passengers on weekdays.
The record-high number of travelers comes on the heels of “our busiest summer ever,” TSA acting Deputy Administrator Patrica Cogswell said in a statement. “To plan for the season, partnerships with industry and stakeholders are critical to keep travelers moving safely and securely to holiday destinations. We want to ensure travelers are as best prepared as they can.”
Earlier this year, TSA officers called out in record numbers as the government shutdown entered its fifth week, creating long screening lines at airports across the country.
Travelers also can expect to encounter new TSA technology this holiday season that aims to trim wait times. Computed tomography art scanners will give TSA officers a closer look at what’s in a passenger’s bags, though they will still have to pull out laptops and cellphones.
But by deploying this new technology, Cogswell added, the TSA is setting the stage “for more items to be able to be left in the bag, and for more people to leave laptops in.”
TSA officers in the coming weeks also are expecting to be equipped with new credential-authentication technology that lets them to quickly identify travelers without having to verify passengers by looking at a photo ID under lights or lamps.
“You’ll start seeing those show up at our airports in the coming weeks,” Cogswell added.