Pack your patience if you’re heading to the airport Friday. TSA expects record-breaking holiday travel numbers (2024)

The Transportation Security Administration predicted that Friday will be the busiest day for air travel over the Memorial Day weekend, with nearly 3 million people expected to pass through airport checkpoints. It could rival the record of 2.9 million, set on the Sunday after Thanksgiving last year.

“Airports are going to be more packed than we have seen in 20 years,” said Aixa Diaz, a spokesperson for AAA.

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The agency expects to screen more than 18 million passengers and crew over the entire holiday weekend. That’s a 6.4% increase over last year.

Travelers on Thursday say delays across the country, but relatively few cancellations. The biggest backups were at the three major airports in the New York City area and Dallas-Fort Worth International.

Travel has been fairly smooth at Jacksonville International Airport.

“Actually, it has been great. Traffic was great. We found a parking spot with no problem. There was no wait to check in and everything is right on time so far,” said Melissa Glasgow, who was traveling with her husband, Bob, to Kansas City on Friday.

“It is still quite early but yes, it’s been pretty smooth,” Bob Glasgow said.

Also among the millions flying Friday are Ian and Amy Radford, who are going back home to Wilmington, North Carolina, from Jacksonville.

Ian is an Air Force veteran who was in Northeast Florida to go through the K9s For Warriors program, which he graduated from yesterday.

Ian had to get his flight ticket re-printed, but that was the only hiccup in the airport.

“So far, other than a small glitch, it has been really great,” Ian Radford said. “We were actually on two separate flights and the ticket agent got us on the same flight. We are actually going to get to go home together, which is really cool. I have not seen her in three weeks. Sitting next to her for the next couple of hours is going to be really fun.”

In Jacksonville, a record 7.4 million people traveled through JAX last year.

To help meet the increased demand, the airport broke ground on a new concourse earlier this month.

MORE: JIA breaks ground on new ‘Concourse B’ after years of delays

Concourse B will add six gates, meaning more flights can be scheduled. There are also plans for a new parking garage that will add roughly 2,000 new spaces.

The project, originally announced in 2019, follows years of delays from the pandemic and other issues. Now it is scheduled to open in 2026.

Before leaving the house, TSA recommends checking your bags to make sure they don’t have any items that might hold you up in security, like any liquids, sunscreen containers and alcohol over 3.4 ounces. Those must be packed in a checked bag.

As a carry on, each passenger is limited to one quart-size bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes.

Check out our weekly newsletter compiled by Consumer Investigative Reporter Tiffany Salameh.

This should be obvious, but guns aren’t allowed at security checkpoints. They must be packed unloaded in a checked bag and locked in a hard-sided case. Firearms must also be declared to the airline when checking in at the counter.

As always, check your flight status before heading to the airport, don’t forget your ID and pack your patience.

The TSA reminds travelers that it does not tolerate violence or unruly behavior, which we’ve seen increase in recent years. You could lose your spot on a flight, and assaulting a TSA employee is a federal offense.

Airport unions are using the holiday weekend to highlight their demands.

About 100 workers who clean airplane cabins and drive trash trucks at the airport in Charlotte, North Carolina, started a 24-hour strike Thursday, demanding better pay and healthcare, according to the Service Employees International Union. About 15% of flights were delayed, but it was unclear whether the strike played any role.

A planned strike at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York was averted, however. Teamsters Local 553, which represents about 300 workers who refuel passenger and cargo jets at JFK, said that it reached a settlement with Allied Aviation Services and called off a walkout planned for Friday.

“We are happy an agreement has been reached, a need for a strike averted, and we are hopeful that the deal will be ratified by our members,” said Demos Demopoulos, the secretary-treasurer of the local.

For the holiday weekend, more travelers will be on the road, too. AAA estimates that 43.8 million people will venture at least 50 miles from home between Thursday and Monday, with 38 million of them taking vehicles.


Associated Press video journalist Melissa Perez Winder in Chicago and Associated Press radio reporter Shelley Adler in Washington contributed to this report.

Copyright 2024 WJXT and The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Pack your patience if you’re heading to the airport Friday. TSA expects record-breaking holiday travel numbers (2024)
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