AAA said Tuesday it is expecting Thanksgiving travel to near pre-pandemic levels as air travel rebounds from the pandemic shutdowns.
AAA expects travel to be up 13 percent from 2020 with 53.4 million people traveling for the holiday. That will put Thanksgiving travel for 2021 within five percent of holiday travel in 2019, before pandemic began.
Air travel has almost completely rebounded from 2020 as the U.S. opened the door for international air travel this week for the first time in 18 months.
“This Thanksgiving, travel will look a lot different than last year,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA Travel. “Now that the borders are open and new health and safety guidelines are in place, travel is once again high on the list for Americans who are ready to reunite with their loved ones for the holiday.”
Twidale added the rebound in traveling would also give a "much-needed boost to the economy," as people visit families and explore new places.
“But it also means airports will be busier than we’ve seen, so travelers must plan for long lines and extra time for TSA checks,” she added.
Airlines were expecting a surge of incoming international travelers on Monday after the US lifted travel restrictions on much of the world that had been in place since early 2020.
AAA is encouraging people to get the COVID-19 vaccine and check health guidance from the Centers for Disease and Control (CDC) while preparing to travel this holiday season.