SFO sees big uptick in travelers for end of Thanksgiving holiday weekend

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The end of the Thanksgiving weekend shaping up to be one of the busiest for air travel since the pandemic began. The TSA says it expected to screen 2.4 million travelers Sunday. That's the most passengers screened in one day since the spring of 2020.

There was a traffic mess at SFO Sunday afternoon, with cars dropping off loved ones for curbside goodbyes.

SFO says here travel is still far from pre-pandemic levels but this weekend has been the busiest two years, with about 50,000 departures expected Sunday, 46,000 on Saturday.

"It's good to see a lot of people coming back, it's reassuring and refreshing, people feel confident traveling," said SFO Duty Manager Chris Morgan.

RELATED: Thanksgiving travelers set pandemic record with more than 2.3 million in the air, TSA says

Kaitlynn Lazaro from Gilroy was headed back to College in Colorado but never expected such a crowd.

"It was chaotic, a lot of people want to get back gome, it was hectic," said Lazaro.

The Ramani family was returning home from New Jersey, they say COVID-19 cancelled their annual Thanksgiving gathering in 2020.

"I was so excited, we missed our family reunion last year, so it was special this year," said Sangeeta Ramani.

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Getting to the airport was one thing, finding parking was another many garages were sold out.

Officials say for a time, both short and long term lots at SFO were full. It appears many travelers chose to drive instead of using public transportation.

"We actually had to divert some passengers to parking lots used by employees," Morgan added.

Julie Paul said her rideshare trip into San Francisco normally costs $45 but cost a lot more on the holiday weekend with both Uber and Lyft.

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"There's definitely a major fare difference. At least double from what I'm used to paying, a busy travel day, a lot of surge pricing going on," said Paul.

In a statement, a representative from Lyft told ABC7 News: "As vaccines rolled out people started moving again and the demand for rides outpaced the number of available drivers. Thousands of drivers are being added to the platform to improve wait times and prices."

Uber also sent a statement saying: "Surge pricing is a result of high demand, if riders are not in a rush try waiting a few minutes to request a ride as prices can go down."

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