America’s airports and roads are swarmed with people before the Thanksgiving holiday

NEW YORK: A young girl pointed at the signs in John F. Kennedy Airport Wednesday as her family waited in line to pass through security

Swarms of people descended on America’s airports and roads Wednesday heading to visit family members for Thanksgiving – in many cases, for the first time since the pandemic began. 

Wednesday was expected to be the busiest day for travel in the country: The Transportation Security Administration estimated 20 million people would pass through airport checkpoints nationwide through Sunday, although by late Wednesday afternoon security wait times averaged about 30 minutes at the busiest airports.

Between Friday and Tuesday, the agency already had screened more than 10 million, according to TSA figures; 2.2 million were screened Tuesday – more than double the amount who passed through the gates at the same time in 2020, as the pandemic raged. 

It is dealing with 4,200 fewer employees to meet increased demand, as 7 percent of the agency’s employees have not received a COVID vaccine in accordance with President Biden’s mandate, which went into effect Monday. But TSA officials said that will not affect Thanksgiving travel and that airline officials have increased their staff.

AAA also predicts 53.4 million people will travel for Thanksgiving this year – an increase of 13 percent, or 6.4 million more travelers, from last year. Of those, it says, 48.3 million will drive and 4.2 million will fly.

Another one million will travel via other means, including rail.

‘This Thanksgiving, travel will look a lot different than last year,’ said Paula Twidale, the senior vice president of AAA Travel. ‘Now that the borders are open and new health and safety guidelines are in place, travel is once again high on the list for Americans who are ready to reunite with their loved ones for the holidays.’

But travelers are going to face sky-high fuel prices, and increased car rental and flight prices. Demand is hitting a peak from the slowdown during the coronavirus pandemic amid a global supply chain crisis and fuel spikes. 

NEW YORK: A young girl pointed at the signs in John F. Kennedy Airport Wednesday as her family waited in line to pass through security

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: There was barely any room to move around at Newark International Airport by Wednesday afternoon

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: There was barely any room to move around at Newark International Airport by Wednesday afternoon

NEW YORK: Hundreds of people waited in line Wednesday at the Transportation Security Administration checkpoint at JFK Airport

NEW YORK: Hundreds of people waited in line Wednesday at the Transportation Security Administration checkpoint at JFK Airport

MIAMI, FLORIDA: People waited in line to clear through the TSA checkpoint at Miami International Airport

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS: A young boy prepared to make his way through a TSA security checkpoint

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS: A young boy prepared to make his way through a TSA security checkpoint

ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA: Crowds were seen forming at Reagan National Airport ahead of the holiday

ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA: Crowds were seen forming at Reagan National Airport ahead of the holiday

WASHINGTON DC: Passengers lifted their suitcases to board an Amtrak train bound for Boston on Wednesday

WASHINGTON DC: Passengers lifted their suitcases to board an Amtrak train bound for Boston on Wednesday

MIAMI, FLORIDA: People gathered their luggage after arriving at Miami International Airport Wednesday night

MIAMI, FLORIDA: People gathered their luggage after arriving at Miami International Airport Wednesday night

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS: There were delays reported on Wednesday at Chicago O'Hare International Airport as lines formed

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS: There were delays reported on Wednesday at Chicago O’Hare International Airport as lines formed

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS: Passengers at O'Hare waited in line to check their bags at the American Airlines terminal

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS: Passengers at O’Hare waited in line to check their bags at the American Airlines terminal

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA: Passengers waited in line Wednesday to board an Amtrak train ahead of the holiday

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA: Passengers waited in line Wednesday to board an Amtrak train ahead of the holiday

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: Travelers waited Wednesday in line near a sign for a COVID testing site

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: Travelers waited Wednesday in line near a sign for a COVID testing site

NEW YORK: The TSA expects to screen 20 million passengers at its checkpoints through next Sunday

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: A family attached their baggage claim tags to their suitcases as they prepared to check them

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: A family attached their baggage claim tags to their suitcases as they prepared to check them

WASHINGTON DC: Groups lined up to board a bus bound for New York's Union Station on Wednesday

WASHINGTON DC: Groups lined up to board a bus bound for New York’s Union Station on Wednesday

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: A dog waited patiently for his owner to check in to their United Airlines flight

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: A dog waited patiently for his owner to check in to their United Airlines flight

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: A fluffy service dog hung out of a woman's backpack as she passed through the terminal

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: A fluffy service dog hung out of a woman’s backpack as she passed through the terminal

The scene at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport was chaotic early Wednesday morning, with swarms of people waiting in long lines to pass through checkpoints and check-in to their flights.

And at New York’s LaGuardia Airport, long lines were already forming at the checkpoints as military officials and bomb-sniffing dogs patrolled the area.

By Wednesday afternoon, there was barely any room to move around at nearby Newark International Airport in New Jersey, while in Los Angeles, the airport started filling up around 7am local time. 

But Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport is actually expected to be the busiest of the nation’s airports, with 154,000 people departing from the hub Wednesday, according to Hopper, an app that predicts flight prices.

Dallas Fort-Worth and Los Angeles airports came in as second and third busiest airports. JFK was still in the top 10, coming in at number nine. 

As of Wednesday night, the average wait time to get through security at most airports was just about half an hour.

At New York’s JFK airport was about half an hour, while in Miami they averaged about 40 minutes and at LAX they averaged 20 minutes, according to data from iFly, a website that tracks security wait times at airports. 

Hartsfield-Jackson had wait times lasting 31 minutes, and at Dallas Fort Worth, the average wait time was about 26 minutes. 

NEW YORK: JFK is expected to be the ninth busiest airport during the holiday season

NEW YORK: JFK is expected to be the ninth busiest airport during the holiday season

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: Children prepared for their flights in winter jackets as their parents unloaded the car

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: Children prepared for their flights in winter jackets as their parents unloaded the car

NEW YORK: Of the expected 53.4 million people, the majority, 48.3 million people, are expected to drive

NEW YORK: Of the expected 53.4 million people, the majority, 48.3 million people, are expected to drive

NEW YORK: AAA also predicts that 53.4 million people will travel for the holiday this year - an increase of 13 percent, or 6.4 million more travelers, from last year

NEW YORK: AAA also predicts that 53.4 million people will travel for the holiday this year – an increase of 13 percent, or 6.4 million more travelers, from last year

NEW YORK: A man carried his bags into John F. Kennedy Airport as day broke early Wednesday morning

NEW YORK: A man carried his bags into John F. Kennedy Airport as day broke early Wednesday morning

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: Wednesday was gearing up to be the busiest travel day in the United States

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: Wednesday was gearing up to be the busiest travel day in the United States

NEW YORK: A man at JFK was seen carrying flowers, as millions of Americans fly home to meet up with their loved ones

NEW YORK: A man at JFK was seen carrying flowers, as millions of Americans fly home to meet up with their loved ones

NEW YORK: Passengers passed through Terminal 8 at JFK Wednesday morning as they waited for their flights

NEW YORK: Passengers passed through Terminal 8 at JFK Wednesday morning as they waited for their flights

NEW YORK: A young girl used her mother's suitcase as a seat as they waited in line at bag drop

NEW YORK: A young girl used her mother’s suitcase as a seat as they waited in line at bag drop

WASHINGTON DC: A man raced to catch his Amtrak train on the day before Thanksgiving

WASHINGTON DC: A man raced to catch his Amtrak train on the day before Thanksgiving

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: People waited for their luggage at baggage claim as they went home for the holidays

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: People waited for their luggage at baggage claim as they went home for the holidays

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: The scene at Newark Liberty International Airport Wednesday as the TSA prepared to screen millions

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: The scene at Newark Liberty International Airport Wednesday as the TSA prepared to screen millions 

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: Passengers arrived at the terminal of the Newark Liberty International Airport on Wednesday

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: Passengers arrived at the terminal of the Newark Liberty International Airport on Wednesday

SEATTLE, WASHINTON: People checked into Alaska Airlines ticketing kiosks at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

SEATTLE, WASHINTON: People checked into Alaska Airlines ticketing kiosks at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

MIAMI, FLORIDA: People rolled their luggage out of the airport after finding it at baggage claim

MIAMI, FLORIDA: People rolled their luggage out of the airport after finding it at baggage claim

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA: A traveler boarded an Amtrak train ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA: A traveler boarded an Amtrak train ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday

MIAMI, FLORIDA: The line to get through security at Miami International Airport was chaotic on Wednesday

MIAMI, FLORIDA: The line to get through security at Miami International Airport was chaotic on Wednesday

ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA: Travelers waited in line at a security checkpoint at Reagan National Airport

ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA: Travelers waited in line at a security checkpoint at Reagan National Airport

NEW YORK: One man was seen charging and listening to music as he waited

NEW YORK: One man was seen charging and listening to music as he waited

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: Passengers rushed to get to their planes the day before the Thanksgiving holiday

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: Passengers rushed to get to their planes the day before the Thanksgiving holiday

NEW YORK: A girl checked her phone as her father carried her through the TSA checkpoint Wednesday

NEW YORK: A girl checked her phone as her father carried her through the TSA checkpoint Wednesday

MIAMI, FLORIDA: A couple arrived at Miami International Airport on Wednesday ahead of their flight

MIAMI, FLORIDA: A couple arrived at Miami International Airport on Wednesday ahead of their flight

NEW YORK: A man kept his chihuahua warm in the frigid weather Wednesday as he waited for his plane at LaGuardia Airport

NEW YORK: A man kept his chihuahua warm in the frigid weather Wednesday as he waited for his plane at LaGuardia Airport

Airlines are adding more staff to deal with the Thanksgiving surge, offering overtime or bonuses for employees who work the holiday, and TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein tweeted on Monday morning that the vaccine mandate would not affect airline travel. 

She wrote: ‘Approximately 93 percent of @TSA employees are in compliance with today’s deadline for the federal employee vaccine mandate and exemption requirements. The employee vaccine mandate will not impact holiday travel. Happy Thanksgiving!’   

Delta has hired 8,000 new employees, including 1,500 reservation agents, Reuters reports, and Southwest hired more than 4,500 employees in the past few months. 

American Airlines, Southwest Airlines and JetBlue also are offering bonuses, higher pay and other incentives to ensure they have enough workers to meet the demand, and Southwest has cut its flight schedule to enhance on-time performance. It also added more employees to its customer relations department. 

Still, there were delays reported Wednesday at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Philadelphia International Airport and Teterboro Airport in New Jersey.

Colorado officials also warned travelers that mountain snow, and runway construction was expected to cause some delays at Dallas Love Airport overnight.

Meanwhile in California, a red flag warning – meaning fiery conditions are likely – could affect some travel. 

NEW YORK: Cars were seen trying to enter the Holland Tunnel into New Jersey as a sign warned drivers to stay in their lanes

NEW YORK: Cars were seen trying to enter the Holland Tunnel into New Jersey as a sign warned drivers to stay in their lanes

NEW YORK: JFK Airport was swarming with long lines of people Wednesday morning, before the Thanksgiving holiday

NEW YORK: JFK Airport was swarming with long lines of people Wednesday morning, before the Thanksgiving holiday

DENVER, COLORADO: Travelers entered the terminal from an underground train at Denver International Airport on Tuesday

DENVER, COLORADO: Travelers entered the terminal from an underground train at Denver International Airport on Tuesday

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: People checked into their American Airlines flight as crowds started to form

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: People checked into their American Airlines flight as crowds started to form

NEW YORK: Airline officials have said that for Wednesday they have deployed more staff to deal with the pent-up demand for Thanksgiving travel

NEW YORK: Airline officials have said that for Wednesday they have deployed more staff to deal with the pent-up demand for Thanksgiving travel

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: Lines were also starting to form Wednesday afternoon at budget airline Frontier

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: Lines were also starting to form Wednesday afternoon at budget airline Frontier

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON: People lined up to drop off their baggage at the Alaska Airlines check-in terminal

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON: People lined up to drop off their baggage at the Alaska Airlines check-in terminal

NEW YORK: The roads were already starting to get jammed up with traffic on Wednesday afternoon

NEW YORK: The roads were already starting to get jammed up with traffic on Wednesday afternoon

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON: A passenger carries several bags as she arrives at the ticketing level at Seattle-Tacoma Airport

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON: A passenger carries several bags as she arrives at the ticketing level at Seattle-Tacoma Airport

WASHINGTON DC: An elderly man disembarks from an Amtrak train in Washington DC

WASHINGTON DC: An elderly man disembarks from an Amtrak train in Washington DC

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: Groups waited for their cars at Newark International Airport on Wednesday

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: Groups waited for their cars at Newark International Airport on Wednesday

NEW YORK: A majority of those traveling for the holidays are expected to drive

NEW YORK: A majority of those traveling for the holidays are expected to drive

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: Masked passengers made their way through the TSA security point lines

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: Masked passengers made their way through the TSA security point lines

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA: A traveler boarded an Amtrak train a day ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA: A traveler boarded an Amtrak train a day ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday

NEW YORK: Crowds of passengers waited to board trains Wednesday at New York's new Moynihan Train Hall in Penn Station

NEW YORK: Crowds of passengers waited to board trains Wednesday at New York’s new Moynihan Train Hall in Penn Station

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: Passengers waited for the elevators at Newark International Airport

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: Passengers waited for the elevators at Newark International Airport

WASHINGTON DC: Passengers moved swiftly through Union Station as they tried to catch their trains

WASHINGTON DC: Passengers moved swiftly through Union Station as they tried to catch their trains

NEW YORK: TSA officials said they are prepared for the surge with 'reduced physical contact'

NEW YORK: TSA officials said they are prepared for the surge with ‘reduced physical contact’

The high cost of driving for the holidays this year 

A surge in people traveling this holiday season has sent travel-related expenses skyrocketing, with travel site Kayak reporting that the average cost of rental cars are up 75 percent from 2019 and 66 percent from 2020. 

Jonathan Weinberg, the founder and CEO of Autoslash.com said consumers are spending as much as $300 a day for a rental car in New York, and the average is about $100 more per day than it was to rent a car in 2019.

Experts attribute the high costs to a shortage of rental cars and a supply-chain shortage of the computer chips used in modern cars.

Auto makers were also forced to shut down production during the coronavirus pandemic, depreciating the value of cars, which many sold.

Meanwhile, the cost of fuel has been increasing in recent months, leveling off on Friday at $3.41 per gallon.

That’s seven cents higher than it was at the same time last year, meaning Americans are spending an average of $19.35 more each time they fill up their 15-gallon car.

But the surge in people traveling this holiday season has sent travel-related expenses skyrocketing. 

Hopper announced that the average domestic flight during Thanksgiving was on track to be about $293 round trip – $48 more than last year.

And travel site Kayak reports that the average cost of rental cars are up 75 percent from 2019, and 66 percent from 2020. 

Jonathan Weinberg, the founder and CEO of Autoslash.com, also said consumers are spending as much as $300 a day to rent a car in places like New York, and the average price nationwide is about $100 more per day, or about 50 percent higher, than it was to rent a car in 2019.

‘Things are pretty crazy at the moment, and the reason is because we have a massive shortage of rental cars, there is a semiconductor shortage – basically computer chips are not available with today’s modern cars [and] they require over 100 chips in each one,’ he told the New York Post.

‘I think there was a lot of apprehension last year and the rental car companies still had enough inventory to meet that demand, and now it’s completely flipped on its head,’ he added.

‘They just sold off too many cars in the middle of 2020 when COVID was impacting their business and they thought they were going to buy back those cars when they needed them, but it turns out, things were not quite as simple as they thought.’

Ivan Drury, the senior manager of insight at Edmund’s, also said the automotive industry has been in chaos since the pandemic began last year.

‘It really comes down to the fact that last year, during the heat of the pandemic, the rental agencies weren’t moving units, no one was moving cars, they were just depreciating assets,’ he told the Post. ‘They decided they were just going to have to sell these things.’

Around the same time, he said, automakers were forced to shut down their factories and they halted orders on the semiconductor chips, which are needed for everything in a modern car from heated seats to navigation systems.

Then when the economy came roaring back, they were not able to procure the parts they needed.

‘Right now, new car dealers only have about 20 percent of the inventory that they are accustomed to having during a normal year,’ Drury said. ‘So we’ve even seen that rental agencies [who] want to buy X amount of units, they can’t even get those delivered to them.

‘Some rental car agencies are even resorting to used cars,’ he said. 

NEW YORK: People entered Terminal 8 at John F. Kennedy International Airport as the sun rose on Wednesday morning

NEW YORK: People entered Terminal 8 at John F. Kennedy International Airport as the sun rose on Wednesday morning

NEW YORK: People were seen entering and leaving JFK Airport early Wednesday morning

NEW YORK: People were seen entering and leaving JFK Airport early Wednesday morning

NEW YORK: A family rolled their suitcases to the airport as they prepared for their flight Wednesday

NEW YORK: A family rolled their suitcases to the airport as they prepared for their flight Wednesday

DENVER, COLORADO: The scene at Denver International Airport was chaotic Tuesday with passengers scrambling to get through the TSA checkpoint

DENVER, COLORADO: The scene at Denver International Airport was chaotic Tuesday with passengers scrambling to get through the TSA checkpoint

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: LAX was already starting to get crowded by around 7am local time on Wednesday

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: LAX was already starting to get crowded by around 7am local time on Wednesday

WASHINGTON, DC: Travelers walked through Union Station on Wednesday to catch their trains

WASHINGTON, DC: Travelers walked through Union Station on Wednesday to catch their trains

NEW YORK: People were seen hugging their loved ones, as many visit family members for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began last year

NEW YORK: People were seen hugging their loved ones, as many visit family members for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began last year

NEWARK, NE JERSEY: People piled up their suitcases on carts as the holiday season began Wednesday

NEWARK, NE JERSEY: People piled up their suitcases on carts as the holiday season began Wednesday

NEW YORK: A bomb and explosive dog for the Department of Homeland Security Wednesday was on high alert

NEW YORK: A bomb and explosive dog for the Department of Homeland Security Wednesday was on high alert

NEW YORK: Passengers checked into their flights on Wednesday as the cost of flights rose nearly $50

NEW YORK: Passengers checked into their flights on Wednesday as the cost of flights rose nearly $50

NEW YORK: A family was seen unloading their car Wednesday at LaGuardia Airport as they prepared for their flight

NEW YORK: A family was seen unloading their car Wednesday at LaGuardia Airport as they prepared for their flight

NEW YORK: A father hugged his son Wednesday as he pulled suitcases out of his car on the day before Thanksgiving

NEW YORK: A father hugged his son Wednesday as he pulled suitcases out of his car on the day before Thanksgiving

Meanwhile, gas prices throughout the country have been steadily rising over the past few months.

They finally leveled off last week, averaging $3.41 per gallon nationwide on Friday, according to the American Automobile Association. That is seven cents higher than it was one year ago, USA Today reports, which means Americans are spending an average of $19.35 more each time they fill up their 15-gallon car.

Last Wednesday, Biden asked regulators to investigate oil and gas companies possibly inflating their prices, but the industry’s lobbying association, the American Petroleum Institute, criticized Biden for the move.

Frank Macchiarola, the senior vice president of policy, economics and regulatory affairs called the president’s push for a probe a ‘distraction from the ongoing market problems, USA Today reported, and claimed ‘ill-advised government decisions’ are exacerbating the issue.

‘Rather than launching investigations on markets that are regulated and closely-monitored on a daily basis, or pleading with OPEC to increase supply, we should be encouraging the safe and responsible development of American-made oil and natural gas,’ he said. 

NEW YORK: TSA workers manned the long security lines at LaGuardia Airport on Wednesday

NEW YORK: TSA workers manned the long security lines at LaGuardia Airport on Wednesday

NEW YORK: The TSA said it has enough staff to meet the surge in passengers expected for the Thanksgiving holiday

NEW YORK: The TSA said it has enough staff to meet the surge in passengers expected for the Thanksgiving holiday

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: People arrived at the Newark Liberty International Airport off a shuttle on Wednesday morning

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: People arrived at the Newark Liberty International Airport off a shuttle on Wednesday morning

NEW YORK: The sun shined through LaGuardia Airport on Wednesday as passengers tried to get to their planes

NEW YORK: The sun shined through LaGuardia Airport on Wednesday as passengers tried to get to their planes

ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA: A woman arrived at the curbside drop-off area at Reagan National Airport on Wednesday

ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA: A woman arrived at the curbside drop-off area at Reagan National Airport on Wednesday

NEW YORK: A passenger showed an airline official his boarding pass the day before Thanksgiving

NEW YORK: A passenger showed an airline official his boarding pass the day before Thanksgiving

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: Passengers were seen coming and going from their flights on Wednesday

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: Passengers were seen coming and going from their flights on Wednesday

NEW YORK: Airline officials prepared to board their planes at LaGuardia airport

NEW YORK: Airline officials prepared to board their planes at LaGuardia airport

NEW YORK: Some people even brought their dogs along for the ride Wednesday as they went to meet up with loved ones

NEW YORK: Some people even brought their dogs along for the ride Wednesday as they went to meet up with loved ones

NEW YORK: Passengers fled to their gates at LaGuardia Airport on Wednesday morning

NEW YORK: Passengers fled to their gates at LaGuardia Airport on Wednesday morning

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: Security personnel were on the scene at Newark International Airport

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: Security personnel were on the scene at Newark International Airport

Still, the majority of Americans who are traveling this holiday season are expected to drive.

‘There are a couple of really big driving holidays… Thanksgiving is one of them,’ Bob Pishue, an analyst with transportation analytics company INRIX told USA Today.

He said travel ‘won’t be as bad as it was in 2019, but the roads are definitely more congested than they were last year.’

INRIX found that nationwide traffic delays are expected to be about 40 percent higher than normal over Thanksgiving. The busiest cities will include Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington D.C. 

Pishue is now recommending that people driving for the holidays leave after 9pm on Wednesday or before 11am on Thursday.

And to come home, he said, the best time to leave would be before noon on Saturday and Sunday.

‘Leaving in the morning is definitely the best bet,’ he said. ‘Even on a normal day, midday and afternoon traffic is pretty heavy in a lot of places just as bad now as it was pre-COVID. 

NEW YORK: The scene at the TSA PreCheck line at LaGuardia airport where passengers can expedite the security process

NEW YORK: The scene at the TSA PreCheck line at LaGuardia airport where passengers can expedite the security process

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: Families made their way through the TSA line at Newark Liberty International Airport on Wednesday

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: Families made their way through the TSA line at Newark Liberty International Airport on Wednesday

NEW YORK: One woman showed a security official something on her phone as she waited for her flight

NEW YORK: One woman showed a security official something on her phone as she waited for her flight

NEW YORK: Soldiers were seen guarding LaGuardia airport during the chaotic scene on Wednesday

NEW YORK: Soldiers were seen guarding LaGuardia airport during the chaotic scene on Wednesday

NEW YORK: A woman prepared to take out her identification for the TSA line at LaGuardia airport

NEW YORK: A woman prepared to take out her identification for the TSA line at LaGuardia airport

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: Families checked their bags for their departing flights

NEW YORK: One passenger was clearly exhausted Wednesday from all the holiday travel at LaGuardia Airport

NEW YORK: The scene outside LaGuardia airport in New York, where people were departing cars with their luggage in tow

NEW YORK: The scene outside LaGuardia airport in New York, where people were departing cars with their luggage in tow

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: Planes lined up for departures at the Newark International Airport on Wednesday

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: Planes lined up for departures at the Newark International Airport on Wednesday

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also warns that drivers have been making more ‘risky decisions’ since the pandemic began, including driving while intoxicated or without a seatbelt.

It estimates than 20,160 people died in motor vehicle crashes in the first half of the year, up 18 percent from the same time in 2020. That is the largest number of projected fatalities for that time frame since 2006.

These problems are only expected to worsen during the holiday season.

The NHTSA found that there was an uptick in impaired drivers during the holiday season, with nearly 800 people dying in crashes involving a drunk driver over Thanksgiving weekend from 2015 to 2019.

‘If we thought it was going to be a problem before COVID, it’s definitely a problem now,’ Pishue told USA Today. ‘We hope to see fewer fatalities and road accidents and collisions, but with how things have been going during COVID, it’s definitely a concern.’

NEW YORK: Panhandlers took advantage of the pre-Thanksgiving traffic on Wednesday by asking for money

NEW YORK: Panhandlers took advantage of the pre-Thanksgiving traffic on Wednesday by asking for money

NEW YORK: A traffic jam could be seen from the top of the Port Authority terminal in Manhattan on Wednesday

NEW YORK: A traffic jam could be seen from the top of the Port Authority terminal in Manhattan on Wednesday

NEW YORK: Dozens of cars were seen making their way into New Jersey on Wednesday

NEW YORK: Dozens of cars were seen making their way into New Jersey on Wednesday

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