Prior to Thanksgiving, air travel skyrocketed to pre-COVID levels – and even surpassed 2019 numbers.

More than 2 million people have passed through the Transportation Security Administration checkpoints at US airports every day between November 17 and November 23, according to figures released Thursday by the TSA.

Wednesday was the busiest day with over 2.4 million travelers checked in.

Monday recorded more than 2.26 million passengers, surpassing the 2.25 million who traveled on the same day in 2019, the last year before the COVID-19 pandemic. Sunday’s total also slightly surpassed that of the same day three years ago.

The pandemic has significantly reduced the number of travelers in 2020, when less than 1.1 million people flew to the US on the same leg each day. Those numbers jumped to more than 2 million last year, but still haven’t reached the same-day figures recorded in 2019 and this year.

The TSA warned this week that the number of travelers could match or exceed pre-pandemic totals.

“Given the large number of trips planned nationally and locally before and after Thanksgiving, the best advice I have for passengers is to arrive at the airport early and prepare,” said Greg Hawko, TSA’s federal director of security in Washington.

“This holiday season is no exception,” he said. “TSA is closely monitoring our activities and making necessary adjustments throughout the day.”

Passengers traveling with Thanksgiving leftovers can take turkey and other meats, baked goods, stuffings, vegetables and condiments in their carry-on baggage on return flights, the TSA said. Large quantities of cranberry sauce, jams, wine sauce and canned fruit and vegetables will need to be checked.

“If it’s a solid item, it can pass a checkpoint,” TSA said. “However, if you can spill it, spread it, spray it, pump it or pour it, and it’s bigger than 3.4 ounces, then it should go in a checked bag.”

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