Closer to normal: Travel surges this Thanksgiving season

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CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Many taking to the sky, boarding a train, or hitting the road across the Capital Region on one of the busiest travel days of the year. As travel has quickly rebounded as more people have gotten vaccinated, this holiday travel season could rival those before the pandemic.

Crowds of people were at Albany International Airport throughout the day Wednesday, arriving or departing to their holiday destinations.

“Don’t like the cold, but I had to come back to New York for my mom, so yeah, I’m excited,” said Sue Luft, who flew in from North Carolina to be with her mom and fiancé this Thanksgiving.

Luft stayed home in the Tar Heel State for the holiday last year, but like many others, feels more comfortable taking the skies, “I feel like it’s more safer than it was last year.”

Leaving from Raleigh-Durham earlier Wednesday morning, she noticed long lines at security as airports across the country see a surge in passengers. On Monday, well over two million people passed through TSA checkpoints, far surpassing the numbers seen two days before the holiday last year and even in 2019.

If traveling by rail, you should also expect to see crowds.

“We’re looking at about 80% of our 2019 ridership across the country, which is about 800,000 people,” said Jason Abrams.

Abrams, who is the Public Relations Manager for Amtrak, encouraged everyone to arrive to the station around 45 minutes prior to scheduled departure.

For those making their Thanksgiving travels behind the wheel, over 50 million Americans could also be on the road throughout this holiday travel rush.

“The main goal is to get there in one piece, that means it’s going to take a little patience on your part. People are going to be hectic on the roads, give them a little space,” said Michael Sweeney, Traffic Safety Educator at AAA Hudson Valley.

Those numbers could rival those seen before COVID, even with the continued rise in gas prices.

“Since many people did go without seeing family and friends last year, I think they will pay that price this year so that those holiday plans happen,” Sweeney said.

AAA urges everyone to make sure their car is checked and ready before hitting the road. The busiest travel times are expected to be Wednesday in the late afternoon and Sunday.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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