BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (FOX 9) – Thanksgiving and travel go hand-in-hand.
Officials at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) said this could be their busiest Thanksgiving travel season in four years.
An estimated 4.7 million Americans will take to the skies for Thanksgiving, the highest number of travelers by air since 2005, according to AAA.
Wednesday and Sunday are projected to be the biggest travel days at MSP Airport, with an estimated 38,000 to 40,000 people walking through the doors each day.
“The mornings will be very busy at Terminal One and Terminal Two. So arrive early, just so that you can accommodate if there’s a longer line at one process or the other, so you can get your gate on time,” said Jeff Lea, the spokesperson for the Metropolitan Airports Commission.
Travelers looking to avoid congestion later this week flew in or out Monday afternoon.
“[I] came back to Minnesota because we want to go to Wisconsin for thanksgiving with my sister. We thought that today would be a great day to get in (to the airport). We’re going to be on the road Thursday morning, so we get there in time to eat turkey,” said Dave Buchanan, who flew into MSP Monday from Arizona.
“We’ll go back to Spain for Thanksgiving, and we’ll celebrate with all of all friends there, and we did an early Thanksgiving with my family yesterday so that way we could make it back before the Thanksgiving rush,” said Laurel Denney, who was flying from MSP to Valencia, Spain on Monday.
MSP Airport officials want travelers to know they’ve added a new cell phone lot on Post Road with 100 parking spots. They encourage people to wait there if they’re picking up their loved ones.
“This should help accommodate that demand, keep our roads less congested and make it easier for everybody,” Lea said.
AAA officials said most Americans will drive to their destinations this week, an estimated 49 million Americans total. Wednesday afternoon between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. is expected to be the worst travel time. AAA also said drivers can expect cheaper gas prices this Thanksgiving. Monday’s average gas price in Minnesota was about 35 cents lower than a year ago.
Officials with the Minnesota Department of Transportation said some work zones in Minnesota may be active as work wraps up through November, but luckily, they said they won’t need to bring out the snow plows this week.