Travelers get early start to beat busiest travel day after Thanksgiving 2021

Worst time to travel in Chicago after Thanksgiving is Sunday between 1 p.m. and 7 pm., AAA says

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Sunday, November 28, 2021
Travelers get early start for best time to travel after Thanksgiving
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TSA expects to see about 20 million people total take to the sky for Thanksgiving 2021 holiday travel.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Just hours shy of a pandemic travel record potentially being set, some travelers are choosing to avoid the big crowds and long wait times that are expected on Sunday.

The video featured is from a previous report.

According to TSA officials, Sunday is predicted to be one of the busiest travel days of the year as people return from their holiday trips.

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"We were lucky to get really early flights, where it looked like most people were trying to stay in bed, so we had no problems at all going through, but the plane was packed," said Mickey Shy, who is flying back from California

"It was definitely a conscious decision, not only to avoid the traffic but also the price," added Joseph Petrullo, who is flying back from New Jersey. "For sure, was a big factor."

In fact, TSA checkpoints nationwide screening 1.7 million travelers Friday alone, as authorities expect to see about 20 million people total take to the sky this holiday period.

RELATED: Travel tips as Chicago's Midway, O'Hare airports expected to be busy ahead of Thanksgiving 2021

AAA predicted an uptick traffic, too, with 48.3 million people traveling by car this Thanksgiving.

However, no matter the mode of transportation, some travelers said avoiding the long wait times is the perfect ending to their holiday excursions.

"Coming back today from Newark airport, I got in in 15 minutes," Petrullo said.

"I haven't seen her in a long time, too, so it was worth it," Shy said.

RELATED: TSA 'confident' about handling Thanksgiving rush with travel volumes expected to reach 2019 levels

According to AAA, the worst time to travel in Chicago is Sunday between 1 p.m. and 7 pm.

To help avoid congestion in the terminals, O'Hare airport announced Saturday they are offering the first hour of short-term parking for free for those picking up or dropping off travelers.