CHICAGO — It’s the start of the holiday season, which means Chicago airports are bracing for a busy week of Thanksgiving travel.

On Monday, some locals looked to get ahead of the holiday rush.

“Actually, today, it’s better than I expected,” said Arie Davis, who is traveling to Tennessee for Thanksgiving. “The last time I was here, the machines were down. It was chaotic. Yeah, it was like a nightmare.”

Both O’Hare and Midway airports expect more than twice the number of travelers from last year.

“We’re expecting about 1.2 million passengers to come through O’Hare and an additional 288,000 to pass through Midway, so it’s going to be busy, and people should prepare themselves,” said Christine Carrino with the Chicago Department of Aviation.

RELATED: Experts suggest Thanksgiving holiday travel could be biggest of pandemic

The numbers are slightly less than pre-pandemic totals, however.

“We’re still under the numbers, just under the numbers in 2019, but given that so many passengers haven’t flown in a while, it’s going to feel particularly busy,” Carrino said.

The Sunday after Thanksgiving should be the busiest travel day during the Thanksgiving holiday, with 2.4 million passengers flying home, which would make it the most active day at US airports this year. 

While air travel was standard on Monday, experts expect significant numbers Tuesday and Wednesday. As a result, airline companies are reminding passengers to arrive at least two hours ahead of their flight.

And don’t forget your mask.


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