The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised Americans to avoid traveling over Thanksgiving because COVID-19 rates were increasing.
The advice was ignored by millions of travellers, who flooded airports all over the country setting a record for airline travel.
A year later, there is no broad CDC Thanksgiving travel warning, 80% of Americans age 12 and older have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose and school-age children are now eligible for the jab.
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If you add relaxed travel restrictions, particularly for those who are vaccinated, it will create the perfect recipe for an unprecedented Thanksgiving tourism surge.
The Transportation Security Administration on Wednesday said it expects to screen an estimated 20 million people, or 2 million per day, at U.S. airports over the 10-day Thanksgiving travel period that began Friday and ends the Sunday after Thanksgiving. That is down from a record 23 million in 2019, but double 2020 levels.
Delta Air Lines stated that it plans to transport nearly three times as many Thanksgiving passengers in 2020 than it did in 2020. The Sunday following Thanksgiving is likely to surpass the July pandemic record for passenger traffic.
Travelers who didn’t travel on planes during the pandemic are likely to be inexperienced. These are the essential facts for travelers.
1. Get your COVID-19 travel documents before you arrive at the airport
Travelers don’t need to show vaccine proof or a negative COVID test to board a flight within the United States, though Hawaii requires one of the two to bypass a mandatory quarantine upon arrival. International destinations may have additional entry requirements. All travelers entering the United States from other countries, as well as returning citizens of the U.S., will need to pass a negative COVID screening. Foreign nationals must test And Show proof that you have been vaccinated under the new rules, which took effect on Nov. 8.
You will need to present proof of immunization. How to safely store it on your phone
2. You shouldn’t rush to get to the airport.
Even if your TSA PreCheck allows you to quickly pass security, this is not the time for arriving an hour early. Airlines, the TSA, wheelchair providers and airport shops and restaurants have struggled to add staff to match the rapid return in travel this year, so waits are generally longer and bigger crowds mean even longer lines. For domestic and international flights, airlines recommend that you arrive at least 2 hours prior to departure. You should allow more time for peak travel times and if you plan on eating coffee before or after your flight.
3.To avoid having to scramble the morning of your flight, make sure you reserve an airport shuttle or parking spot in advance
A shortage of drivers has made it difficult for travelers to find affordable Uber/Lyft rides. Holiday travel will only make matters worse. You can schedule a ride, shuttle or take public transport.
Take a ride-share Uber can have your airport ride ready once you land. Let’s see how it works.
4. Don’t forget face masks
You must wear a mask from the time you arrive at an airport to your departure. Federal regulations also cover airport services like rental cars and shuttles. Extras are recommended for long flights. Hand sanitizer is also recommended. While some airlines provide wipes on-board, most other carriers require you to take your own.
5. Make sure to brush up on TSA Rules
The liquids Cranberry sauce, gravy, wine and wine can’t be carried onboard in bags. However, pies and other baked goods may be taken along with you. Have questions about specific items? TSA is available for assistance Twitter or Facebook messenger or call the agency’s contact center at 866-289-9673.
Do you need additional assistance at the airport How TSA Cares helps people who need extra support at security.
6. Do not count on having the same food and beverages on board the plane.
Airlines cut back on complimentary snacks and drinks and items for sale early in the pandemic to reduce interactions between flight attendants and passengers, and many have been slow to resume service.
Southwest Airlines once offered a wide variety of snacks for longer flights. However, they now only offer small bags of snack mix. Although the airline has expanded its beverage menu to include water and soft drinks, it does not offer alcohol. American Airlines is also refusing to resume alcohol sales in the economy. United has resumed hard liquor sales this week.
7.Bring your own food, but don’t forget to bring BYOB
With inflight food limited and airport lines long and some concessions still closed, the best option for hungry travelers is to bring food from home. It is prohibited to take small containers of alcohol from an airport into the aircraft. FAA regulations prohibit passengers from drinking alcohol on board the aircraft unless it is served by the airline.
Airliner pleads for pandemic passengerThere is no BYOB
8.Don’t forget to draft a plan B in case of flight cancellations and delays
Southwest, Spirit and American airlines have stranded passengers this year during major meltdowns tied to staffing shortages, and wintry weather is always a wildcard during the holiday travel rush. Get to know your airline’s Twitter handle for quick rebooking help in case of cancellations and delays, and know your rights – airlines are required to refund your money not just issue travel credit when they cancel the flight. So you can’t research while on the flight, make sure to note alternative routes and airport hotels.
Airline cancel or delay your flight?This is what you owe airlines (and how to get them)