Post-Thanksgiving, airport screenings predicted to reach record pandemic high

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With the Thanksgiving holiday coming to an end, travelers are heading back home on one of the busiest days to travel since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dino James, a Minnesota resident, was dropping off his daughter when he got a glimpse of empty lines and short wait times.

“I thought it would be much busier. I had a friend flying out this morning and he said it was pretty busy here so we maybe just got lucky today,” James said.

James said whenever he books a flight at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, he has a plan to beat the rush.

“Typically we use the gate on that side there and then we have TSA pre-check. It’s just shorter and faster,” James said.

Some travelers said flying out of MSP was quick and easy compared to flying in before the holiday.

“Compared to Tampa — we left there and we almost missed our flight because it was so busy there,” Andy Grengs, MSP traveler, said.

Grengs and his family traveled to the Twin Cities for the holidays. Their trip back to the sunshine state was brighter than expected.

“Happy to get to our gate early, eat before we get on our flight and it should be a nice easy flight then,” he said.

TSA predicts they’ll screen more than 20 million passengers nationwide this Thanksgiving travel season.

“I did see more than last year, a lot more than last year, but I wouldn’t compare it to the previous years before that,” Sunitha Venkitereman, MSP traveler, said.

She said busy or not, she’s happy to be home.

Airport officials said they still expect even bigger numbers of travelers this holiday season as Christmas approaches.