TSA predicts Friday will be its busiest day ever

Posted at 8:29 AM, Jun 28, 2024

RICHMOND, Va. --From the roadway to the runway, AAA expects Friday will be the busiest air travel day of the Fourth of July holiday, and TSA predicts it will be the busiest day on record.

TSA expects to screen more than 3 million people nationwide Friday. The previous record was set on Sunday, June 23rd, so if you are flying Friday, experts say you need to arrive at least two hours early for domestic flights and three hours for international trips.

Here in Virginia, AAA expects nearly 150,000 Virginians to jet off to their holiday destinations. That’s up 6 percent from last year and 5 percent from before the pandemic in 2019.

Across the U.S. 6 million people will fly for the Fourth of July. That's nearly seven percent higher than last year and more than 12 percent higher than 2019.

You can also save yourself sometime at the check-in counter by packing smart and weighing your bag ahead of time and be sure to have the liquids you plan to take through TSA in your carry-on bag easily accessible.

With 150,000 Virginians expected to fly for Fourth of July, every second counts to get you to your gate on time.

"If you're going to an airport that's not in your city, make sure you know the best route in case there are some backups along the way," explained AAA Mid-Atlantic's Morgan Dean. "Also build in time for that shuttle, if you're out in economy lot somewhere, you want to make sure you still have time to catch that shuttle, get on the shuttle, get over to the airport, go through all of those different things that you need to."

Richmond International Airport also wants to remind travelers, if you plan to fly with a firearm, it must be secured in your checked baggage, packed unloaded, locked in a hard-sided case and declared to the airline when you check in.

RIC has recovered 18 firearms at TSA checkpoints so far this year, compared to 17 all of last year.
Another tip, fireworks and sparklers are not allowed in either your carry-on or checked baggage on airplanes.
While the airports will be busy Friday, you can expect the roadways to be packed on Tuesday July 2nd and Wednesday, July 3rd, as well as Sunday, July7th and Monday, July 8th, as 60 million people are expected to hit the roads for the holiday.

You may want to try to avoid driving on those peak days, but if that’s not possible AAA suggests leaving very early in the morning or very late at night.

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