This year, air passengers’ numbers for Thanksgiving are expected to rebound to pre-pandemic levels, says the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
The TSA is ready to manage the large crowds of holiday passengers that will flood in airports throughout the week. According to administrator David Pekoske, the agency is prepared as staffing is sufficient to handle these numbers, which reflect TSA’s busiest travel period. He added that air passengers should expect long lines and airport security checks.
In 2019, during the 11-day period around Thanksgiving, 26 million passengers and crew members passed through U.S. airports. However, this record number plummeted in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and related travel restrictions.
Starting from Monday, a vaccine mandate will go into effect for all TSA agents. But Pekoske believes that the mandate won’t have any effect on staffing for Thanksgiving next week. He said that the vaccine mandate will just add more safety to passengers’ travel experience. “In fact, implementation of the mandate will make travel safer and healthier for everyone. So, we see quite a significant increase in the number of our officers that are vaccinated, and I’m very confident that there will be no impact for Thanksgiving,” Pekoske declared to ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
Speaking with NBC, Pekoske admitted being concerned about unruly passengers that may cause incidents on airplanes. The number of unruly behaviors began to increase last January. Since then, the TSA has referred 37 cases to the FBI for possible criminal prosecution.