Philadelphia International Airport braces for Thanksgiving travel rush

A traveler moves through the Philadelphia International Airport ahead of the Independence Day holiday weekend in Philadelphia, Friday, July 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

A traveler moves through the Philadelphia International Airport ahead of the Independence Day holiday weekend in Philadelphia, Friday, July 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

For the Thanksgiving holiday season, Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) is expecting more passengers this year compared to last, although not at the same levels seen before the pandemic.

According to a spokesperson, from Wednesday through Sunday, more than 362,000 passengers are expected to arrive and depart from the Philadelphia International Airport. For the entire holiday period (Nov. 18-29), approximately 867,000 people will pass through the airport, which is 12% more than the Thanksgiving travel period in 2021.

However, this is 18% lower than what was seen in 2019, which was a record setting passenger volume year at PHL.

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The airport is recommending arriving at least 2.5 hours early for domestic flights – and three hours early for international departures.

The airport’s onsite garages and economy parking lot may reach capacity during the season, according to airport officials. Departing passengers are strongly encouraged to consider offsite parking, ride-booking services, public transportation or have someone drive them to the airport.

The Transportation Security Administration is expecting travel nationwide to pick up this season, anticipating as many as 2.5 million passengers at checkpoints on Wednesday, and more than 2.5 million on Sunday. The agency is recommending people take note of what can be brought on an airplane during the holiday season.

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Turkeys can be carried through TSA checkpoints as well as baked goods, including pies and cookies. In checked luggage, the traditional sides such as cranberry sauce and gravy can be brought along, as well as wine and sparkling cider.

For those traveling by car this week, AAA expects roughly 49 million Americans to be hitting the road. Severe congestion is expected around Atlanta, Chicago, New York City, and Los Angeles. To avoid severe traffic, it’s recommended that people travel early in the morning on Wednesday or before 11 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day. Travel should be avoided between 4-8 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

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