ATLANTA (NewsNation Now) — This Fourth of July holiday is marking a major milestone for airlines, as air travel is expected to exceed pre-pandemic levels for the first time in two years.
“It wasn’t a lot more, just a few 1,000, but it’s a significant milestone because we haven’t surpassed a 2019 number since the pandemic began,” said Dan Velez, a Transportation Security Administration spokesperson.
The TSA expects more than 3 1/2 million Americans to fly during the Independence Day travel window. The result: long lines and crowded airports.
“It’s always going to be busy during the Fourth of July after people have been cooped up for a year,” said one traveler who spoke with NewsNationNow.com.
NewsNation spoke with travel journalist Peter Greenberg for tips on traveling this holiday weekend. See the interview in the player below.
For some, air travel is already off to a turbulent start; bad weather caused cancellations and delays from Atlanta to Miami, Dallas, and New York City.
At Los Angeles International Airport, an unattended bag caused an hours long shutdown.
“When we got in the shuttle, they told us there was some sort of emergency; they didn’t tell the driver why, but they evacuated the whole top floor of the airport,” said Kim Lindgren, a traveler.
The Transportation Security Administration is still trying to recover from a worker shortage. Travel journalist Peter Greenberg suggested looking for security lines at airports with only one person checking the x-ray screen, since two or more TSA agents huddled around could mean one of them is training and it may delay your trip.
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The bumps, as airline staffing shortages create issues across the board.
Southwest is canceling hundreds of flights per day and asking staff to pick up extra shifts this weekend.
Meanwhile, American Airlines is cutting about 80 flights per day thru mid-July.
NewsNation spoke with Emily Kaufman, known as “The Travel Mom,” about the travel challenges. See the interview in the player below.