This Thanksgiving holiday travel period expected to be busiest travel season ever

Bay Area

Traveling for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday? 

If so, you definitely are not alone. 

The Transportation Security Administration is expecting a record breaking number of flyers for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday travel period with more than 25 million passengers traveling through security screening checkpoints nationwide from Nov. 16 through Nov. 26. 

That’s a 5 percent increase from 2017. 

San Francisco International Airport, in partnership with TSA, is unveiling new automated security screening lines to ease the congestion. 

The airport will offer enhanced security and improved efficiency through the security screening process. 

The new units will debut in Terminal 3 where United Airlines operates, and will serve as a pilot test for potential adoption in other terminals. 

SFO is the first airport in the San Francisco Bay Area to deploy this technology. 

Officials say the busiest travel days leading up to Thanksgiving will be the Friday and Wednesday before the holiday, with 2.6 million passengers and crew expected on each of those days. 

More than 2.7 million travelers are expected to be flying home on Nov. 25, the Sunday after Thanksgiving. 

Officials say TSA screens about 2.1 million passengers on a typical weekday. 

TSA has released the following tips for travelers to keep in mind: 

  1. Pack smart. Prepare for security when packing and ensure that there are no prohibited items in baggage. As always, passengers can bring pies, cakes and other baked goods through the checkpoints; however, liquids such as eggnog and maple syrup, and gels such as preserves and jellies, should go into checked bags. Liquids in carry-on must follow the 3-1-1 liquids rule. Download the MyTSA app or use the “What can I bring?” tool on This allows you to type in an item to find out if you can bring it in your carry-on bag, checked bag, either or neither.
  2. Renew your TSA Pre® membership. Individuals who obtained TSA Pre® five years ago are now able to renew their TSA Pre® membership online. Individuals who do not have TSA Pre® should enroll now to get TSA Pre® benefits, available at more than 200 U.S. airports, in time for their holiday travel. Travelers enrolled in a trusted traveler program, like TSA Pre®, do not need to remove shoes, laptops, liquids, belts and light jackets. To find the trusted traveler program that best suits your travel needs, use the DHS trusted traveler comparison tool.
  3. Ask for passenger support. Travelers or families of passengers with disabilities and/or medical conditions may call the TSA Cares helpline toll free at 855-787-2227 at least 72 hours prior to flying with any questions about screening policies, procedures and to find out what to expect at the security checkpoint. TSA Cares also arranges assistance at the checkpoint.



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