Thanksgiving travel rush underway in Bay Area

Amy Hollyfield Image
ByAmy Hollyfield KGO logo
Thursday, November 25, 2021
Thanksgiving travel rush underway in Bay Area
Millions of people are getting ready to fly and drive this holiday week. Here's a look at the busiest freeways in the Bay Area and when to avoid them.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- If you're getting ready to travel today for the Thanksgiving holiday, you're not alone. AAA estimates that 53 million people will be flying or driving Wednesday through Sunday, and that means the roads are going to be busy.

RELATED: How to navigate Thanksgiving this year, travel and COVID

The highways are expected to be packed with 49 million drivers hitting the roads through Sunday. In the Bay Area, the busiest corridors are expected to be I-80 and I-580.

VIDEO: Bay Area freeways packed as travelers hit the road for Thanksgiving

On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, Bay Area area freeways were packed in all directions as people head to their holiday destinations.

Early birds will be rewarded today, here are the best and worst times to hit the road:

  • Before noon is a smart time to leave, noon to 8:00 p.m. is when experts project it will be the busiest.
  • Sleeping in and taking your time to pack and load the car actually pays off today. Blasting off after 9 p.m. is the best time to drive.
  • For your return, Saturday from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. is a time to avoid the roads and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. will be a busy time to drive.

If you're headed to the airport today -- pack patience. The TSA says it screen more than two million people yesterday. It's the sixth straight day they've screened two million people during the Thanksgiving travel rush.

RELATED: TSA 'confident' about handling Thanksgiving rush with travel volumes expected to reach 2019 levels

If you're going to SFO today you could be met with protesters. Members of the union representing cashiers and food service employees, as well as those who prepare the food and drinks served on planes will be picketing. Union officials claim workers are being denied affordable family health care in the face of COVID-19 risks. A spokesperson for the airport says a permit has been issued to the union for the protest.

Travel is expected to be up 13% over last year's Thanksgiving holiday -- a healthy sign that things are returning to normal.

Meteorologist Mike Nicco has your Thanksgiving AccuWeather Travel forecast.