Nov 23, 2022 - News

Airport officials expect busiest travel period in 3 years

Illustration of a turkey pulling a suitcase.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport officials are gearing up for a busier-than-usual Thanksgiving travel period, estimating that the number of passengers flying out of the airport this month will be the most in at least three years.

Why it matters: Holiday travel across the country is returning to pre-pandemic levels, and this year the number of Thanksgiving week sojourns falls behind only those in 2005 and 2019, per AAA, which started tracking in 2000.

By the numbers: Airport officials expect the daily number of passengers flying out of the Austin airport to reach roughly 30,000 Wednesday, according to data provided to Axios.

  • In November 2019, the monthly total of departing passengers reached roughly 1.4 million.
  • Officials do not yet have an estimate for this month's total, but a spokesperson said 2022 numbers will likely exceed 2019, 2020 and 2021 because airlines are offering 35% more seats for sale this month.

Plus: The busy holiday travel season comes on the heels of a record-breaking October, when Austin airport officials reported a staggering 43,177 passengers flying out of the airport on one single day.

Driving the news: Nearly 55 million Americans will travel 50 miles or farther this week.

  • Most people will travel by car, but road-tripping for the holidays remains 2.5% below 2019 levels.

Zoom out: Nationwide, 4.5 million people are expected to fly during the holiday week, which starts Wednesday.

  • And 1.4 million people will travel by train or bus or take a cruise, an increase of 23% compared with last year.

Travel tips: Airport officials have already warned travelers to arrive two and a half hours before their flight.

  • Passengers parking at ABIA can reserve a space and check for real-time availability before arriving at the airport.
  • And if you are obligated to bring cranberry sauce to Thursday's dinner, the canned version is allowed in your checked luggage, per the TSA.

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