Nov 25, 2020 - Health

In photos: Americans embark on Thanksgiving air travel

A crowd of people walking in different directions in an airport, most carrying luggage and all wearing masks
Los Angeles international Airport on Nov. 25. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

Many Americans chose to travel by plane ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Why it matters: The CDC advised Americans on Nov. 19 not to travel for Thanksgiving, and that doing so may increase the chance of contracting and spreading COVID-19. The U.S. is currently seeing the most coronavirus cases and the greatest strain on hospitals since the start of the pandemic.

  • 25%-30% of Americans said in a Harris Poll survey shared exclusively with Axios that they were likely to ignore health officials' warnings about the risks of gathering with family for Thanksgiving. The survey was conducted from Nov. 19 to Nov. 21.

What they're saying: "There's fewer points of contact between a passenger and an officer. Additionally, it's much better security," TSA administrator David Pekoske told CBS News on Tuesday. Some airports, like LAX and LaGuardia, also offer COVID testing.

  • When asked if he believes people should be traveling, Pekoske said: "I think people should look at all the advice that's out there. And then, I think passengers need to make a judgement."
  • "Every person's circumstance is different. My job, in TSA, and my officer's job, is to make sure that if you do choose to travel, we provide you with as safe and secure experience as we possibly can," he added.

By the numbers: Over 1 million people traveled through TSA checkpoints this past Sunday, agency data shows. Fewer people traveled through security on Monday and Tuesday, as the Thanksgiving holiday drew closer. Pekoske told CBS that TSA expected to see high numbers on Thanksgiving eve, as well as next Sunday.

A man wearing a T -shirt is tested for COVID by a woman wearing a face mask and PPE
A traveler is tested for COVID-19 at LAX Tom Bradley International Terminal on Nov. 25. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images
A man walks in a baseball cap through a mostly empty airport
New York’s LaGuardia Airport on Nov. 24. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images
A crowd of people wearing masks and carrying mostly rolling suitcases stand at a check in counter with a Frontier sign
People check in for departing flights at Orlando International Airport on Nov. 25. Photo: Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Three women stand wearing masks in front of an empty American Airlines kiosk
O'Hare International Airport on Nov. 25 in Chicago, Illinois. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images
A group of people wearing face masks, three with baseball caps, stand in line while wearing face masks
Los Angeles International Airport on Nov. 25 in West Hollywood, California. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images
A nurse wearing a face mask and PPE stands in front of a man wearing a hoodie and backpack
A traveler talks to a nurse at a COVID-19 test station at LAX Tom Bradley International Terminal on Nov. 25. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images
Two people stand in front of a mostly empty United airlines check in counter
Travelers check in for their flights at O'Hare International Airport on Nov. 24 in Chicago, Illinois. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images
A woman wearing a face mask and a face shield wheels luggage through a mostly empty line
Terminal B at Boston Logan International Airport on Nov. 23. Photo: David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
A young child wears a face mask, baseball cap and puffy jacket while holding a grocery bag in a crowded airport
Los Angeles International Airport on Nov. 25. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images
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