PITTSBURGH, Pa. (WTRF) – This week many people are worried about grocery shopping, thawing the turkey and preparing the perfect side dishes for Thanksgiving.
Before you can eat, you have to get to the table.
At Pittsburgh International Airport, the travel rush is already underway as millions of people will be catching a flight or loading the family into the car.
No matter how you travel, the keys this year are patience and leaving early.
Travel isn’t quite back to pre-pandemic levels, but it’s close. That means lines at the airport and heavy traffic on the highways.
So, if you want to get to your loved ones in time for Thanksgiving, you have to plan ahead.
We tell you to get here early all the time and we mean it particularly around the holidays. The lines may be a little bit longer, particularly in the mornings. Be patient. TSA is trying to get you through as fast as they can.Matt Neistein, Manager for Public Affairs, Pittsburgh International Airport
Neistein said compared to last year, this travel week from Monday to Sunday is over last year’s seating capacity with a 10,000 to 20,000 seat increase.
Nationally, TSA is recording travel numbers near pre-pandemic levels, so delays are possible at airports across the country.
Here’s the advice travel officials have for you.
First, give yourself a few hours to get through security and to your airport gates. With the construction around Pittsburgh International Airport officials say it could take a little more time to find parking.
Before you leave home, download your airline’s app to keep up with any cancellations. Also, check to make sure what you pack meets all security requirements, which are listed at TSA.gov.
This time of year we see people bringing homemade food through a lot; gravies, cranberry sauce, apple pies, whatever they want to bring home. If it’s not frozen, if it’s not solid, it’s not going to make it through if it’s more than 3.4 fluid ounces. So, we don’t want anyone to lose their favorite gravy because they can’t bring it through the checkpoint.Matt Neistein, Manager for Public Affairs, Pittsburgh International Airport
Giving yourself plenty of time is also key for driving this week.
AAA said about 55 million Americans will be on the road, which is an increase, so delays are likely.
Officials advise leaving before Wednesday if you can, because it’ll be a busy day.
In fact, the busiest travel times to avoid are from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday and anytime from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. throughout the week.
If you can, hit the road as early as possible. So, try to get out before 8:00 a.m. and get to your destination. If you can’t, you might as well just wait until all the traffic dies down. If possible, hit the road after 8:00 p.m.Tiffany Stanley, Spokesperson, AAA East Central
Nothing can detour a trip like a flat tire or car problems, so check everything from the tires to the wipers ahead of time.
When you do take your vehicle to be inspected, make sure they pay very close attention to your battery because that is the number one call that we normally get.Tiffany Stanley, Spokesperson, AAA East Central
With more flights available, and more people booking tickets, it’s bound to be a busy week.
Pittsburgh International Airport said they now have more flights than ever with some new additions like a direct flight to London, seasonal flights to Austin, Phoenix, and direct to New Orleans.
However, they do feel if you plan ahead and give plenty of time your trip will go smoothly.
Now it’s easier to get to different destinations than it was before, so we’re really excited about getting people home to their loved ones and more opportunities to do that.Matt Neistein, Manager for Public Affairs, Pittsburgh International Airport
While Wednesday will be a very busy day getting people to Thanksgiving on time, Sunday is actually projected to be the busiest travel day so far this year at Pittsburgh International Airport as people return home from the holiday.