US airports expecting busiest Independence Day holiday weekend on record  

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The 2024 Independence Day holiday rush started early in the US with the busiest travel days still yet to come, says the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA). More travelers passed through TSA airport checkpoints on June 24, 2024, than on any day in the agency’s almost 23-year history. But with the main travel period falling over the weekend of July 6 and 7, 2024, that record is not likely to stand for long.    

For the main Independence Day holiday weekend, more new records are expected to be set as the number of passengers traveling by air is likely to soar to new daily record amounts. More than 30 million people are expected to pass through the nation’s airports during these two days alone, with the TSA advising passengers to expect queues and delays at airport security checkpoints. 

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On Independence Day itself (July 4, 2024) the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) expects to handle some 54,000 flights – the highest daily record of 2024 so far. The peak travel day is expected to be July 7, 2024, at the end of the holiday weekend when people return home for the start of the working week the following day.  

On this day, the agency expects to screen more than three million individuals at 434 airports. TSA says while it will aim to meet its own goals of having only 10-minute waits for its PreCheck lines and 30 minutes in standard airport security, it cannot guarantee that delays could occur.  

“We have been anticipating the arrival of the Fourth of July travel period and planning our security operations to ensure that we are prepared for the surge in travelers who will be coming to the airport,” TSA Federal Security Director for Colorado Douglas Cruz told the Independent newspaper.  

“TSA will be on the job with security screening officers extending their shifts to ensure travelers have a smooth trip. But we are asking travelers to be good partners with TSA and ensure that they are prepared for the screening process. Please don’t bring prohibited items in your carry-on luggage and allow plenty of time for every step of the travel process,” Cruz added. 

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The busiest US airports over the holiday weekend are expected to be Atlanta-Hartsfield (ATL), Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), and Denver International Airport (DEN).    

The AAA (American Automotive Association) says that more than 70 million travelers will travel at least 50 miles over the Independence Day rush, representing a 5% increase over 2023 and an 8% spike over 2019 before the pandemic took hold.  

While airlines will be hoping to capitalize on the upsurge in demand for travel over the holiday period, they will also be hoping for a disruption-free operation over the busiest days – a goal that has often been more wishful thinking than reality over peak travel periods in recent years.     

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