San Diego airport expects 20% increase in travelers for Thanksgiving holiday

Local

SAN DIEGO — Up to 54 million Americans are expected to travel to see family this Thanksgiving and the San Diego International Airport is preparing for a 20% increase in travelers.

AAA is predicting travel across the United States will rebound to pre-pandemic numbers and that this Thanksgiving could be the second busiest in Southern California, just 3% less than the all-time record of 4.5 million local travelers in 2019.

While leadership at the San Diego airport said they are staffed up and ready to handle crowds, experts warn other factors could cause delays. Extreme weather, airline disruptions and added safety regulations because of the COVID-19 pandemic could mean longer waits or cancelations.

Janine Joseph, a travel agent with Kahala Travel, said families are back to booking big vacations, but she encourages them to take precautions.

“When I present travel insurance as an option a lot of times they say to me, ‘I’m going on this trip. Nothing is stopping me. I’m going on this trip.’ I think they miss the most important thing — it’s not them,” Joseph said.

Travel insurance can help pay for hotels and cruises when a flight is canceled, or if you or a member of the family get sick, ending your vacation. More people have been opting for travel insurance this season since there are more variables in traveling than ever before.  

“Make sure you plan early on your documents if you are traveling internationally. Just patience, get there early and be kind to everyone,” Joseph said.

The two busiest days of travel are typically the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday following the holiday. Travel experts offered a piece of advice for Americans looking to travel from now through 2022.

“We’re anticipating that all of 2022 is going to be extremely busy, and that’s why the best advice for travel in the new year is book now, book right away because there are some deals that are out there right now that will not last long,” said Doug Shupe, spokesman for AAA Southern California.

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