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HomeTravelRain, snow could disrupt holiday travel; TSA says it's ready for crowds

Rain, snow could disrupt holiday travel; TSA says it’s ready for crowds

1 of 3 | The Federal Aviation Administration expects air travel to peak on Thursday with 48,959 flights, with the second-busiest day on Friday with 43,953 flights. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
Dec. 21 (UPI) — Three separate weather systems could dampen the holiday weekend throughout the southwestern and midwest United States, with forecasters warning air and road travelers to expect delays from rain and snow. The Federal Aviation Administration expects air travel to peak on Thursday with 48,959 flights, with the second-busiest day on Friday with 43,953 flights ahead of Christmas Day on Monday. Advertisement
As of 10 a.m. Thursday, 840 U.S. flights had been delayed, with 51 canceled, according to Flight Aware.
Weather systems across the Southwest and Midwest were causing delays in Los Angeles, Oklahoma and Dallas. On Friday, forecasters expect those weather systems to expand to affect travel in Phoenix, Kansas City, Chicago and Portland, Ore.
The Transportation Security Administration expects to screen 2.5 million passengers on its busiest days, a 6% increase over last year.
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“We are prepared to handle the busy passenger volumes this winter holiday season,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said in a statement, crediting teamwork, planning and new checkpoint technology.
The agency advises travelers to start packing with an empty bag to avoid accidentally bringing along a prohibited item like a firearm, arriving early at the airport, making sure you have an acceptable ID and ensuring gifts are unwrapped and can be inspected.
Meanwhile, more than 115 million drivers are expected to traverse the nation’s roads over the next week.
AAA predicts Saturday and Dec. 28 will be the busiest days on the road, with Dec. 30 expected to see an increase in traffic as some travelers return from Christmas getaways while others depart for New Year’s celebrations.
Most of the Great Plains and Midwest are expected to see snow and rain on Saturday, which could likely cause travel delays and cancellations in places like Bozeman, Mont., Salt Lake City, Albuquerque and Oklahoma City. Precipitation was also expected to delay travel in Detroit and Pittsburgh as the weekend progresses.
People hoping for a white Christmas may be disappointed, as forecasts have predicted wet weather across the Ohio Valley, Tennessee Valley and Southeast.
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The FAA reminded air travelers to be patient, give themselves extra time at the airport and pack safely to streamline their journey.
In a statement, the FAA said it has “a has zero tolerance for unruly behavior.” There have been no shortage of midair incidents this year and the agency has started working with the FBI to deal with the most aggressive passengers.
In the first month of 2023 alone, the FAA referred to the FBI a passenger who tried to open an aircraft door and use a makeshift weapon to assault a flight attendant, another who said he needed to fly the aircraft, and several others who assaulted other passengers or flight attendants.
Other high-profile incidents include a passenger screaming at a crying baby, an Air France flyer who found blood on the floor of a plane, and an off-duty pilot who had taken psychedelics before trying to shut off the plane’s engines mid-flight.
The agency also reminded travelers that some aerosol cans that may contain hair spray, deodorant, tanning spray, nail polish, artist paints and glues may be hazardous and banned from the flight. Additionally, e-cigarettes, vaping devices and spare lithium batteries are not authorized to be packed in checked luggage and can only travel in carry-on baggage.

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