Thanksgiving week air travel is expected to set a pandemic era-record despite officials calls to stay home

Allen Kim and Pete Muntean, CNN • Published 25th November 2020

(CNN) — Thanksgiving week air travel is expected to remain strong enough to set a pandemic era-record despite urging from federal health officials to spend the holiday at home.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended Americans to not travel for Thanksgiving last week — but that didn’t stop more than 1 million travelers from passing through US airport security on Sunday and more than 900,000 on Tuesday, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

Since the CDC issued that warning, nearly 5 million people have boarded airplanes. The agency receives passenger information from the airlines as part of its screening responsibilities, and the data does not show widespread cancellations in recent days, TSA spokesman Andy Post said.

From September to October, the number of scheduled available seats departing US airports was up nearly 50% compared to the same timeframe last year. That number dropped down to nearly 39% for the Thanksgiving holiday period, according to Airlines for America, a trade association that represents major North American airlines.