As travel volume for the Thanksgiving holiday rivals pre-pandemic levels, Massachusetts airways and roadways are expected to see major traffic Wednesday.
Nationally, AAA expects nearly 55 million Americans will travel 50 or more miles over the Thanksgiving holiday. Locally, AAA-Northeast expect 1.3 million Bay Staters to fly or drive to their destination.
An FAA traffic manager told NBC News that new airspace recently opened on the East Coast will allow for more planes to fly this week.
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For this holiday though, the majority of people will be traveling by car. Drivers should expect the roads to get busy, especially from about midday until 8 p.m. As always, experts suggest to leave earlier or later if you can.
“Our projections indicate that we should be at about 98-99% of where we were in 2019, so statistically speaking, we’re back to pre-pandemic times in terms of volume," AAA spokesperson Mark Shieldrop said. "And we’re already seeing pretty busy roadways out there, the airports were pretty busy all weekend, the TSA gate numbers indicated that people are definitely traveling.”
Travelers should consider allowing for extra time if they're headed to the airport, because they'll have to deal with the traffic on the roads and possibly longer than normal lines.
Sunday will have "by far" the worst traffic congestion of the week, as people head home, according to Massachusetts transportation officials.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation released this calendar showing when to expect major delays on major highways between the Monday and Sunday bookending Thanksgiving:
Last week, the TSA said it was expecting to screen 64,000 travelers at Logan on peak days during the Thanksgiving travel season. That's about 20,000 more travelers per day than the same time in 2021.