BALTIMORE (WBFF) — The Thanksgiving travel season is here, and TSA is advising travelers to follow certain steps during one of the busiest travel periods of the year.
TSA officials shared expectations and travel tips for the Thanksgiving period from travelers using BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport this week.
TSA is predicting that the Thanksgiving travel period is expected to be the busiest travel period in several years, reaching levels not seen since the COVID-19 pandemic. Deputy Federal Security Director Grant Goodlett said that TSA is expected to screen 30 million passengers during the travel period, which runs from November 17 to November 30.
Goodlett said that the three busiest days will be Tuesday, November 21, Wednesday, November 22, and Sunday, November 26. TSA projects to see 35,000 travelers each day on Tuesday and Wednesday, and it projects to see 40,000 travelers on Sunday.
Ricky Smith, the Executive Director and CEO of the Maryland Aviation Administration described the Thanksgiving travel period as the administration’s “Super Bowl” because of the level of traffic during this part of the holiday season.
Smith said that additional airport staff and volunteers will be on hand to assist passengers. He wants to make sure that travelers are safe during this busy traveling period and he said that BWI Airport employees are ready to serve travelers during Thanksgiving.
“As an airport, the most important function that we perform is working to ensure the safety and security of our passengers,” he said. “The local TSA team here at BWI Marshall Airport does an amazing job in that respect. We appreciate their service on behalf of our customers in ensuring a safe airport and in providing excellent customer service.”
While airport staff are preparing for an abundant amount of travelers, Goodlett is advising travelers to block out time by arriving at the airport early for their flight(s).
“One of the most important things you can do in traveling during these types of heavy travel periods is to come to the airport at least two hours prior to your flight if you’re flying domestically. If you’re flying internationally, I would strongly encourage for you to come three hours before your flight,” he said.
Goodlett suggested that travelers should prepare for travel by having their boarding pass and ID ready for check-in at the TSA security lane and putting all personal belongings in their travel bags before going through the security checkpoint. Smith also advised that for people dropping off and picking up travelers from BWI Airport, they should consider using the upper level (the departures level) of the airport to avoid road congestion on the lower level.