PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — After many travelers took to the sky this Thanksgiving holiday week, a local travel agent said this weekend gave many travelers good insight on what to expect for Christmas.
“It was packed. Planes were full,” Penelope Abad said.
The busy Thanksgiving weekend holiday travel is coming to a close.
“We left a little bit earlier. Parking was full in economy, so we had to do covered parking, which was fine, but it was busier,” Abad said.
More than 2.2 million travelers passed through airports yesterday alone and more than 10 million since Friday.
“I was really shocked. It was really normal,” traveler Jordan Hicks said. “We got to the Seattle airport three hours early, and it only took us 10 minutes to get through, so we expected the worst.”
For some, it was easier than others. “I was really shocked. It was really normal,” traveler Jordan Hicks said. “We got to the Seattle airport three hours early, and it only took us 10 minutes to get through, so we expected the worst.”
On Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, more than 2.3 million people traveled by plane, making it the busiest travel day since February of last year.
With Christmas now less than one month away, people are looking ahead to those travel plans.
Phoenix travel counselor Nancy Melton said travelers should expect busy airports this year during the Christmas week. “It’s going to be crowded. The planes are going to be full,” Melton said. “The least travel days are the holidays themselves.”
Melton recommends traveling on the holiday if you want to avoid larger crowds. “Typically, Christmas Day itself is less crowded than a day or two before or a day or two after,” Melton said.
“Our passenger numbers have been steadily going up since the start of the pandemic,” Sky Harbor public information officer Greg Roybal said.
Melton said if you haven’t purchased your plane tickets for Christmas yet, you may face some consequences. “At this late rate, a lot of lower fares will already be gone,” Melton said. “You just need to be prepared to maybe not take the ideal flight time and probably will be paying more.”
While some travelers feel more comfortable flying this year, Melton said to pack your patience and plan ahead. “I would do it again in a heartbeat,” Abad said.
“Arrive early,” Melton said. “Get there extra early, maybe get there an hour and a half early instead of an hour.”
A concern heading into the holiday weekend was whether or not there would be enough TSA employees working security checkpoints. Employees were required to get vaccinated by Monday or be out of a job. TSA said no employee at Sky Harbor had been fired due to this mandate.
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