As expected, the Thanksgiving holiday was a record-setter for air travel.
The Transportation Security Administration confirmed that the 2018 Thanksgiving travel period was the busiest in the agency’s 17-year history. TSA says it screened more than 25.6 million passengers and crew members during the holiday travel period, a 6 percent increase from the same period in 2017.
The Sunday after Thanksgiving (Nov. 25) was the busiest day during the period. More than 2.7 million travelers passed through TSA screening, “making it the busiest travel day in TSA’s history,” the agency said in a statement.
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“It was all hands on deck during the Thanksgiving holiday week,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said via the statement. “I thank our entire TSA team and industry partners for their work and attention to detail during a very hectic time, ensuring safe and secure travel for all passengers.”
Overall for the period, TSA says screening wait times were kept in check despite the record crowds.
Nationwide, the agency says “95 percent of all passengers waited less than 20 minutes in a checkpoint line and 99 percent of passengers who were in a TSA PreCheck lane waited less than 10 minutes in a security checkpoint line.”
For those flying on this year’s post-Thanksgiving Sunday, however, Mother Nature did not cooperate. A winter storm brought blizzard conditions to a large swath of the Midwest and snarled flights at busy airports like Chicago O’Hare, Chicago Midway and Kansas City, Missouri. Nationwide, nearly 1,300 flights were canceled and more than 4,700 delayed. Monday proved even worse, with more than 2,800 cancellations and 7,000 delays.
That rough ending to the holiday period came after a week of mostly calm weather leading up to the holiday.
Scroll down for a list of what the TSA says are the 10 busiest days in its history:
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1. Nov. 25, 2018: 2,729,770 passengers/crew screened; Sunday after Thanksgiving
2. Nov. 28, 2004: 2,713,864 passengers/crew screened; Sunday after Thanksgiving
3. July 20, 2018: 2,676,487 passengers/crew screened; summer Friday
4. June 29, 2018: 2,676,198 passengers/crew screened; Friday before Fourth of July week
5. July 26, 2018: 2,672,136 passengers/crew screened; summer Friday
6. June 22, 2018: 2,668,474 passengers/crew screened; summer Thursday
7. July 8, 2018: 2,658,707 passengers/crew screened; Sunday after Fourth of July week
8. Nov. 19, 2004: 2,652,347 passengers/crew screened; Friday of the week before Thanksgiving
9. July 27, 2018: 2,649,067 passengers/crew screened; summer Friday
10. June 30, 2017: 2,647,852 passengers/crew screened; Friday of Fourth of July week
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