It's the first vaccinated Thanksgiving, and experts believe that many people will be taking advantage of their vaccinated status and traveling over the holidays. The American Automobile Association says vehicular traffic could be 5% of the 2019 pre-pandemic levels with 53.4 million drivers on the road, and the Port Authority projects 3.5 million of them will be using its tunnels.
Air travel is projected to be close to pre-pandemic levels: more than 1.4 million air travelers are expected at LaGuardia, JFK, and Newark airports between Tuesday and Sunday, according to the Port Authority, which says that there were 1.7 million air travelers in 2019. In fact, the agency said, "Passenger volume at LaGuardia and Newark Liberty International airports specifically are expected to eclipse 90 percent of pre-pandemic levels, with a strong likelihood for longer wait times due to higher passenger volume, ongoing construction and possible staffing shortages at security checkpoints operated by the Transportation Security Administration."
The Port Authority recommends that passengers flying domestically arrive at least two hours before departure, while international passengers should be at the airport at least three hours before departure—and they strongly encourage everyone to take mass transit. Did you know the MTA's Q70 Select Bus to LaGuardia is free between November 23rd and November 28th to reduce congestion? (Port Authority holiday travel tips here.)
There's a taxi shortage at LaGuardia and JFK airports according to The City, because drivers are finding it more lucrative to focus on fares in Manhattan. Michael Woloz, a spokesperson for the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade, which says it represents about 25% of medallion holders, "said boosting the $52 flat fare between Manhattan and JFK, and implementing one at LaGuardia would help make airport trips more viable for drivers." He told The City, "It’s essentially a financial calculation. If you make the equation more favorable at the airport, it’s not rocket science — you’re going to incentivize and attract more drivers."
The MTA is prepping for more local travel, with additional "early and getaway service" on the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North on Wednesday, Thanksgiving Eve, plus extra commuter rail trains before and after the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thursday. (More MTA Thanksgiving travel tips here.)