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The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is warning passengers to be wary of the busiest days at airports during the holiday travel surge next week.
Airports are expecting to see the most passengers on Thursday, Dec. 23 and Monday, Jan. 3, TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein warned on Twitter.
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"Arrive early, wear a mask, expect airports to be busy, pack your patience," Farbstein tweeted.
The warning comes just after the agency estimated that the volume of passengers at airports nationwide will near pre-pandemic levels throughout December despite growing fears surrounding the omicron variant of the coronavirus.
During the 10-day Thanksgiving travel period, the agency screened just under 21 million people at airports nationwide, which was about 89% of pre-pandemic levels, according to Farbstein.
On its busiest day, Nov. 28, the agency screened more than 2.4 million individuals across the nation, breaking a pandemic record.
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"We see a strengthening in the airline travel industry toward pre-pandemic levels and our goal is to ensure you as the passenger have a safe and secure flight," TSA Administrator David Pekoske said in a statement earlier this month. "We work hard with our airport and airline partners to achieve this by ensuring screening operations meet the upcoming demand."
With the rush in travel expected to continue, the agency cautioned passengers to plan ahead, arrive early at airports and to wear a mask.
The agency even suggested that passengers sign up for TSA PreCheck, "in order to keep screening lanes moving quickly throughout the holiday season."
Passengers enrolled in the program do not need to remove their shoes, belts, 3-1-1 liquids, laptops, or light jackets, the TSA said. Without the extra steps, "94% of members waited less than 5 minutes" in line even in November, according to the TSA.
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