Forget the Thanksgiving and Christmas rushes at the airport. The Friday before July 4th could be the day travelers grow to dread.
The Transportation Security Administration says Friday, June 29 could set “a new record for the busiest single day ever” as people travel for the weekend preceding Independence Day. Officials say they expect to screen roughly 2.7 million passengers and crew on Friday alone.
That will put the total number of people going through security checkpoints perilously close to the record set on Nov. 28, 2004. All totaled, 2,713,864 passengers were screened that day, which was a Sunday after Thanksgiving.
All totaled, the TSA expects to screen 28.3 million people between June 28 and July 9, based on ticket sale data. (And as if that many people won’t wreak havoc on the system, summer flight delays could push the headaches to migraine levels.)
Why the rush now and not the winter holidays? Summer vacations play a part in it. The rise in discount carriers offering affordable fares likely does as well.
As if the crush of humanity isn’t going to be headache enough, the Fourth of July apparently makes some travelers lose their common sense. The TSA is urging people to think smart as they navigate security lines, feeling the need to add a special section to its notification reminding travelers that fireworks—from sparklers to roman candles—aren’t allowed in luggage, whether it’s carry-on or checked.