MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Airport officials in the Twin Cities say that the day after Christmas is shaping up to be the biggest travel day of the holiday season.
The Metropolitan Airports Commission says roughly 35,000 passengers are expected to clear TSA checkpoints at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on Sunday. Similar crowds are expected Monday.
These numbers are significantly higher than travel figures last year, when U.S. air travel was down about 60% due the first-year impacts of COVID-19. In 2020, only 21,000 travelers entered the Minneapolis airport the day after Christmas. In pre-pandemic years, holiday travel peaks were as high as 46,000 daily passengers.
Before this Christmas, the busiest travel day looks to be Thursday, when 31,000 passengers are expected to pass through MSP.
"We're expecting a very positive push in travel demand as we end 2021," said Brian Ryks, CEO of the Metropolitan Airports Commission. "There will be extremely busy periods over the next two weeks in our terminals and on our roadways, so we encourage travelers to take steps in advance to be prepared."
In preparing for flights, travelers are encouraged to check traffic and arrive at least two hours before domestic flights or three hours before international flights. Those bringing gifts should wait to wrap them at their destination, airport officials say.
Federal COVID-19 regulations remain in effect and require all those entering MSP terminals or boarding planes to wear masks. Travelers can get a COVID-19 test at MSP before or after their flight.
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