SFO predicts pre-pandemic levels of passenger traffic this holiday season

ByLena Howland KGO logo
Thursday, November 24, 2022
SFO predicts pre-pandemic levels of passenger traffic for holidays
San Francisco International Airport says its expecting the highest passenger traffic levels since before the pandemic this holiday season.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Travelers are off and running to their Thanksgiving destinations on one of the busiest travel days of the year.

San Francisco International Airport officials say they're expecting the highest passenger traffic levels since before the pandemic this holiday season, with Thanksgiving, only marking the beginning of their seasonal rush.

The word is out: traveling early on the morning before Thanksgiving might be the way to go.

"Yeah, we don't like to stress!" said Janey Caster, a passenger traveling to San Diego.

LIVE CAMERA: Some of the worst holiday traffic in US expected on I-80 Wednesday

But at SFO, that depends on who you ask and where you ask them.

"It's nuts!" said Naomi Hemp, a passenger traveling to Palm Springs. "It's so busy. No we've never experienced this before. We don't usually fly before Thanksgiving for this reason. We usually stay local, but we decided to fly and it's nuts."

Kevin Caster and his wife Janey are part of the nearly 55 million Americans expected to travel at least 50 miles from home, renewing their pre-pandemic tradition of spending their Thanksgiving weekend at a jazz festival in San Diego.

"We were planning on a bit longer trip, and a bit more of a crowd when we got here, so there doesn't seem to be one, although there's a few people down that way," Caster said.

Bracing for crowds, the couple got here three hours before their flight.

MORE: LIST: Holiday 2022 events happening in San Francisco Bay Area

"We had heard horror stories about last week and our flight isn't until 11, we're here at 8 o'clock, we'll go have breakfast in the airport and so just having a relaxing time enjoying the airport," Janey Caster said.

Still, a few long lines at the airport, likely nothing compared to what drivers have to deal with out on the roads as 49 million Americans plan to drive -- rather than fly -- to their Thanksgiving celebrations.

As a result, the National Safety Council warns this year could be the deadliest Thanksgiving on the roads in 15 years, with more than 500 preventable crash deaths expected over the holiday.

SFO is encouraging travelers to arrive at least two hours before your flight time and plan ahead to book parking at least two hours in advance because parking garages may be nearing capacity.

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