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Thanksgiving Travel: Expect Long Lines At Airport And Traffic On Roads

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- AAA predicts 53.4 million people are expected to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday this year, up 13 percent since 2020.

That means you could wind up waiting in long lines at the airport or in traffic on your journey to Thanksgiving dinner.

KDKA's Amy Wadas spoke to some travelers hitting the road and taking to the skies Tuesday. She caught up with the Bensons and their dog at a rest stop along Interstate 79 near Bridgeville.

The family is heading to Charlotte from Buffalo to enjoy Thanksgiving with their family. They say the roads are busy.

"I noticed more than last year. We just kinda zipped right through it last year," Karen Benson said.

Shane Beaton said he's thrilled to be traveling for the holidays for the first time since the pandemic.

"It feels good to get out and get away from everything, get a break from regular life," said Beaton.

That's the same feeling for people taking to the skies. Katy Adams was waiting to catch her flight at Pittsburgh International Airport when KDKA talked to her.

She's heading to Atlanta to enjoy Thanksgiving with her son and his wife.

"We both had our booster shots so we feel pretty safe," Adams said.

Feeling safe is also why another couple is heading to Las Vegas to celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary. They stayed home for Thanksgiving last year.

"We are going to try and get into that big buffet in Caesar's Palace, and I've been calling it since last week trying to get reservations," said Natalie McCargo of Beaver Falls.

"On par with around pre-pandemic travel for us. There's a lot of pent-up demand, particularly leisure travelers who are going to see loved ones who have not had a chance over the last year," said Pittsburgh International Airport spokesperson Bob Kerlik.

Kerlik said the day before Thanksgiving is typically the busiest day to travel for the week, so he's encouraging people to get to the airport two hours before their flight and wear a mask.

As for TSA workers, he said staffing has not been an issue locally.

AAA is telling drivers to prepare for anything when they hit the road. That's why they suggest leaving a little earlier just in case you get stuck in traffic.

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