Thanksgiving air travel nearing pre-pandemic levels at Sea-Tac

AAA expects the 2022 Thanksgiving tour to be the third-busiest year nationally since 2000.

SEATTLE – Thanksgiving is just a few days away, and the American Automobile Association (AAA) has predicted this year to be the third-busiest Thanksgiving travel season since 2000, when they started tracking the data. , with 54.6 million people traveling over the holiday.

Wednesday is the busiest travel day. Sea-Tac International Airport is expecting 155,000 people to pass through the airport. TSA is hiring more staff to increase visitor numbers.

Sea-Tac has seen people go home for the holidays. Allison Farley is attending college in Dallas and reunited with her family for the Thanksgiving break on Saturday night.

“I started crying when I saw my mother. I think there’s a lot of emotion when you can’t see your family all the time. Going back, I think the one word I would say is just a huge relief,” Farley said.

AAA estimates 4.5 million Americans plan to fly in on Thanksgiving. Sea-Tac expects 13% more passers-by than last year.

“It’s going to be busy. Overall, we’re about 95% of what we’ve seen during pandemic travel in 2019. Perry Cooper, a spokesman for Sea-Tac International Airport, said.

Airport officials say the busiest travel times are in the morning between 5 a.m. and 11 a.m. and are reminding people to arrive early and use the SEA Spot Saver program to help ease long lines.

“It’s a virtual queue that you get in TSA’s general screening lines. You can pre-register up to 72 hours in advance and that gets you 15 minutes to reserve for the general screening stream,” Cooper said.

Cooper says airport offers more points and extends point saver hours to 10pm

The AAA says the majority of Thanksgiving travelers will hit the road. AAA data shows gasoline prices nationally and in Washington state are starting to fall.

The agency said there would be busy roads.

“As we see more cars on the road, we also see more crashes,” said soldier Robert Reyer of the Washington State Patrol.

The Washington State Patrol said it would have as many troops on the road as possible during the Thanksgiving trip.

“It is very important for us to be there, not only to assist those involved in collisions or other 911 callers, but to be very proactive and to make sure that people get to the their vacation destination safely,” says Trooper Reyer.

Soldiers say people rushing to their destination often cause collisions.

“People just need to plan ahead, that they know about the driving and the weather conditions from their starting point to their destination, then they can plan accordingly,” says Trooper Reyer.

Soldiers say that between now and the end of the year they are also focusing on high visibility and will use the data they collect to see which roads have the most collisions.

As for Farley, she just wanted to see her whole family.

“My sister is here from Colorado. My grandparents are from California so we are all over the place but we are all going home for the holidays.” Thanksgiving air travel nearing pre-pandemic levels at Sea-Tac

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