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Approximately 50M Americans Expected To Travel For Thanksgiving

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Christmastime and the day before Thanksgiving are typically the busiest travel days of the year.

This year, the number of travelers taking to the air or the roads is projected to be lower – though not by much across the country.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have recommended Americans spend the holidays with only those in their immediate households.

It doesn’t appear a large portion of the population will be heeding that advice, though. AAA has predicted 50 million Americans will travel throughout Thanksgiving week, which is down by only 5 million from 2019.

Wednesday is one of the busiest days at the Salt Lake International Airport, where approximately 26,000 people would fly out on a typical year. This year, airport officials have forecasted about 13,000 people will be making their way through the terminals.

Recent Graduate Lin Xi Li thought the Salt Lake City Airport was clean and safe, but she wasn’t thrilled to wear a mask for her long trip home to China.

“I think, probably, it’s 30 hours total,” she said.

Traveler Shirley Shelley was flying out of Salt Lake City with her granddaughter on Wednesday.

“We went to Washington, D.C., right after 9/11, and it is very much like that,” she said. “Except it’s not as bad.”

She said the research she did made her feel more comfortable flying.

Scott and Alyssa Stockdale were preparing for a life-changing Thanksgiving.

“I am meeting my birth father for the second time, and meeting my half-sister for the first time,” Scott Stockdale said.

The Utah couple couldn’t wait any longer to meet Scott’s biological family.

“We have canceled this trip three different times,” Alyssa Stockdale said. “But Thanksgiving is his birth father’s favorite holiday, so he was like, ‘Alright, we’ve rescheduled enough. Time for you to come be with us.'”

On Nov. 9, more than 836,000 people passed through TSA checkpoints nationwide. That’s nearly 10 times the amount of people who who went through TSA on April 14, which was the lowest number recorded during the pandemic.

While many people held off on traveling the day before Thanksgiving, the ones who did said it was worth the risk.

“I feel pretty good about it, actually,” Shelley said. “I hope I don’t regret that.”

A six-month long study by United Airlines and the U.S. Department of Defense found there is a relatively low risk of flying commercial flights. However, that study did not look at the risk of being in an airport terminal.

For those traveling through the Salt Lake City International Airport, remember that masks are required.

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