SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — With COVID fears abated and desire for family gatherings soaring, the travel rush for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday weekend began building Friday morning at San Francisco International Airport.
While the lines at the check-in counters and TSA checkpoints were not overwhelming, they were longer than on a normal travel Friday over the last few months.READ MORE: Steph Curry Closes In On 3-Pointers Record As Warriors Top Blazers
“We traveled last year, but we drove,” said Kaitlyn as she stood in the SFO’s domestic terminal. “This year it was easier to just jump on a flight. Definitely, I didn’t expect this many people this early. I was like ‘Ah, 6 a.m. I didn’t even know they flew this early.’ I thought I’d just walk up so I was definitely shocked.”
Judy Streger was traveling to Los Angeles.
“We did not travel (last year) and we’re big travelers, so this is the first time we’ve traveled in two years,” she said.
Kaitlyn and Judy were just part of the rush which will swell over the next week.
“We think that today will probably be the busiest single day at SFO since the pandemic began,” airport spokesman Doug Yakel said.READ MORE: Berkeley Police Arrest Convicted Sex Offender For Allegedly Accosting Teens, Claiming To Be Police Officer
According to the The Adobe Digital Economy Index, Thanksgiving flight bookings (trips landing between 11/20 and 11/25) are 78 percent higher than this point in 2020 (data through Nov 7), and 3.2 percent higher than this point in 2019.
“After a year where many were unable to see their friends and families for Thanksgiving, we are expecting busy airports this month,” said Vivek Pandya, lead analyst, Adobe Digital Insights, in a blog posting. “The holiday uptick is also driving up prices online, and consumers should start thinking about Christmas travel pretty soon.”
TSA Administrator David Pekoske said he expected security checkpoints to be fully manned this coming week despite a vaccine mandate going into effect for TSA agents on Monday.
“In fact, implementation of the mandate will make travel safer and healthier for everyone,” he said. “So, we see quite a significant increase in the number of our officers that are vaccinated, and I’m very confident that there will be no impact for Thanksgiving.”
Abode analysts predicted you likely paid more for your tickets than you did last year.
“Flight prices are ticking up after seeing sizable drops during the COVID-19 Delta variant surge,” they posted.MORE NEWS: 'This Is The Worst Time' – Half Moon Bay Merchants Blast PG&E Utility Work, Highway 92 Backups Before Holidays
In October 2021, prices were just 7 percent below 2019 levels. Contrast this to September 2021, where prices were 13 percent below 2019 levels (and August 2021, where prices were 11 percent below).