One week before last year’s Thanksgiving, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told Americans not to travel during the holidays, as COVID-19 cases were on the rise.
Millions of travelers ignored the advice, swarming airports across the country and setting what was then a pandemic record for air travel.
A year later, there is no comprehensive travel notice from the Thanksgiving CDC, 80% of Americans 12 and older have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine and school-age children they are now eligible for the jab.
Add relaxed travel restrictions to and from many destinations, especially for vaccinated visitors, and you have the recipe for an increase in Thanksgiving trips that are likely to set pandemic passenger records.
The Transportation Security Administration said Wednesday it expects to examine about 20 million people, or 2 million a day, at U.S. airports during the 10-day Thanksgiving travel period that begins Friday and ends Sunday. after Thanksgiving. This is a record 23 million in 2019, but double the 2020 levels.
Delta Air Lines said it expects to carry nearly three times the number of Thanksgiving passengers as it did in 2020, with passenger traffic on Sunday after Thanksgiving will likely surpass the pandemic record set in July.
Travelers who have not been on a plane during the pandemic will be rusty. This is what travelers need to know.
1. Collect your COVID-19 travel documents in order before you arrive at the airport
Travelers do not need to show a vaccine test or a negative COVID test to board a flight within the United States, although Hawaii requires one of the two to pass a mandatory quarantine upon arrival. Several international destinations have entry requirements and all travelers flying to the U.S. from another country, including returning U.S. citizens, must show a negative COVID test to board the flight. Foreigners must test and show vaccination tests according to the new rules that went into effect on November 8th.
2. Don’t cut it to get to the airport
This is not the year to show up an hour before the flight, even if you have a quick security pass like TSA PreCheck. Airlines, the TSA, wheelchair suppliers and airport shops and restaurants have struggled to add staff to match the rapid return of travel this year, so waits are generally longer and larger agglomerations mean even longer lines. Airlines recommend arriving two hours before departure for domestic flights and three hours for international flights. Add more time if you travel at rush hour or plan to have coffee or food for your flight.
3.Book a trip to the airport or airport car park in advance so you don’t have to worry about the day of the flight
Travelers have struggled to get timely and affordable Uber and Lyft travel this year due to driver shortages, and an increase in vacation travelers will not help the situation. Schedule a trip or shuttle service when available, take public transportation, or ask someone to drop you off.
4. Don’t forget face masks
Masks are still needed from the moment you walk into an airport until you land and claim your bags, and flight attendants regularly remind travelers to only take them off briefly while eating or drinking. The federal face mask mandate also covers airport facilities such as shuttle services and car rental centers. Bring extras, especially for longer flights, and also hand sanitizer. Some airlines still hand out towels, but at most airlines, you have to bring your own.
5. Review the TSA rules
Cranberry sauce, gravy and wine are considered liquids and are therefore prohibited in handbags; The cakes and other baked goods are solid and are good to take on the plane. Do you have questions about specific articles? Contact TSA on Twitter or Facebook Messenger or call the agency’s contact center at 866-289-9673.
6. Do not count on the usual food and drinks on the plane
Airlines reduced free snacks and drinks and items on sale in the early days of the pandemic to reduce interactions between flight attendants and passengers, and many have been slow to resume service.
Southwest Airlines used to offer a variety of free snacks on longer flights, but today it only distributes a small bag of snack mix on most flights. . The airline has recently expanded its beverage menu beyond three soft drinks and water, but it still doesn’t serve alcohol. American Airlines has also not restarted alcohol sales to the economy. United resumed alcohol sales this week.
7.Bring your own food but forget about the BYOB
With limited onboard food and long airport lines and some concessions still closed, the best option for avid travelers is to bring food from home. It is not allowed, however, to carry these miniature bottles of drink or alcoholic beverage from the airport to the plane. FAA regulations prohibit passengers from drinking alcohol on board the aircraft unless it is served by the airline.
Airlines are calling on pandemic passengerss: No BYOB
8.Don’t forget to write a plan B in case of cancellations and flight delays
Southwest, Spirit and American airlines have left passengers stranded this year during major crises related to staff shortages, and the winter weather is always a wildcard during the rush of holiday travel. Learn your airline’s Twitter address for quick help changing your booking in case of cancellations and delays, and know your rights: Airlines must refund your money not just issue travel credit when they cancel the flight. Write down alternative flights to or near your destination and even airport hotels so you don’t have to research on the fly.