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MSP projects 2021 Thanksgiving holiday travel bookings to double over 2020

MSP expects Thanksgiving holiday traffic to peak Nov. 24 at around 32,000 people, the day before Thanksgiving.

MINNEAPOLIS — Travelers of all ages are heading toward TSA checkpoints at MSP International Airport, where airport officials estimate this year's bookings could mark an approximate 70% recovery compared to pre-pandemic numbers - nearly doubling over 2020's Thanksgiving peak travel period.

Back then, the airport saw a single-day high of more than 15,383 travelers screened. 

MSP expects that number to double this year, with the single day projected high for 2021 being roughly 32,000 on Nov. 24. 

Nationwide, travel experts say more than 4.2 million Americans are expected to travel by air this Thanksgiving holiday season. 

According to TSA, Saturday marked the third consecutive day where more than 2 million people were screened at airports across the country.

In anticipation of this larger influx of passengers, MSP says airlines are operating 179 routes in November, constituting an average of 381 daily departures, up from 152 routes and 300 daily departures in 2020. 

MSP initially projected Thanksgiving traffic to top 28,500 on Friday, Nov. 19, the start of the Thanksgiving peak travel period.

Nearly 30,000 passengers are expected on the last day of peak travel, Nov. 28, second only to Wednesday's single day projected high of 32,000. 

MSP advises passengers to arrive at the airport at least two hours before a domestic flight or three hours prior for an international flight.

All passengers are encouraged to review federal air travel regulations before departing. Mask wearing is still required inside terminals and aboard aircraft.