Highways, airports likely to be jammed ahead of Memorial Day weekend

Travel officials are warning of one of the busiest Memorial Day weekends in nearly two decades, and highways and airports are expected to be jammed with passengers beginning Friday.

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials expect Friday to be the busiest travel day of the long weekend, with nearly 3 million passengers expected to go through airports that day.

From Thursday through Wednesday, the TSA is expecting to screen more than 18 million people — a 6.4 percent increase from the same period in 2023.

TSA Administrator David Pekoske said in a statement that the national TSA is working in “close coordination with airport, airline and travel partners,” and “we are more than ready to handle this summer’s increased travel volumes.”

AAA similarly expects record levels of travel this weekend, exceeding pre-pandemic levels.

In total, AAA is expecting 43.8 million travelers to travel at least 50 miles using some form of transportation — the second-highest level since AAA began recording in 2000. The record was set in 2005 with 44 million Memorial Day travelers.

The nearly 44 million anticipated travelers also represent a 4.1 percent increase from last year.

“We haven’t seen Memorial Day weekend travel numbers like these in almost 20 years,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA Travel, in a statement.

“We’re projecting an additional one million travelers this holiday weekend compared to 2019, which not only means we’re exceeding pre-pandemic levels but also signals a very busy summer travel season ahead,” she added.

AAA is expecting 3.51 million air travelers, a 4.8 percent increase from last year and a significant 9.3 percent increase from 2019.

The organization is expecting 38.4 million people to travel by car, up 4 percent from last year and 1.9 percent from 2019.

And it is expecting 1.90 million people to travel using some other form of transportation, up 5.6 percent from last year and 0.3 percent from 2019.

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