Smooth start for Thanksgiving travelers in St. Louis, but crowds expected to surge

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ST. LOUIS – Things are steady right now at St. Louis Lambert International Airport, and some people are flying in this weekend to beat the rush.

With Thanksgiving less than a week away, things are only going to get busier through the weekend and into next week.

More than 55 million Americans are traveling by car, plane, or train for the Thanksgiving holiday. AAA expects this year to be the third-busiest travel week on record.

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TSA expects more than 52,000 people to make their way through the security checkpoint at Lambert International Airport over the weekend. Travelers said they’re already noticing the crowds.

“You know traffic was moving quickly. Very organized. I think things are highly organized this year,” said Marcia O’Brien.

Holiday travelers said the increase in people is bringing some slight delays to flights. “It was maybe 10 minutes late. It was fine,” said Sarah O’Brien. 

“It wasn’t too crowded, but unfortunately, my flight was delayed a little bit. Not bad. Just 30 minutes,” said Darrin Tune. 

AAA is projecting this Thanksgiving travel week to be busy with millions heading out of town.

“About 85 percent of that total volume is going to be road trips,” said Nick Chabarria, AAA Spokesperson. AAA said you could see a decrease in the cost of travel, depending on how you get to your destination. Gas prices are down about 30 cents from last year but flights are up 6%.

“Airfare tickets really are the only aspect of travel that is up year over year. When you’re looking at air travel, you’re looking at rental cars, even tour bookings; all those other factors are down by about 12 to 20 percent,” said Chabarria.

Chabarria said the busiest day to travel is typically the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. He said that is now spread out to Tuesday as well. He said they expect the increase in travelers to continue through the December holidays.


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