Thanksgiving travelers descend upon BNA as busy holiday week kicks off

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The Thanksgiving rush of travelers has hit Nashville International Airport. Departures on the Sundays before and after Thanksgiving could exceed 33,000 each day.

With luggage in hand, travelers quickly made their way across the airport on Sunday.

Mother-daughter duo Kelsey and Kathy Son were on their way to Texas to spend the holiday with family.

“So, we knew it might be a little wild,” said Kelsey. “But we’re also coming back on Thursday, Thursday evening,” laughed Kathy.

“I told my wife that,” said traveler Joey Conway. “I was like, ‘this is going to be crazy.'”

But Conway and his colleague Taron Lingard found a way to beat the rush.

“We were supposed to leave at 4:00, and then, luckily, we got on an earlier flight. And we were talking to our other coworker and were like, ‘I can’t believe that we actually got that,'” said Conway. “So, it was going to be crazy.”

Airlines like United are predicting travel numbers not seen since before the pandemic.

“We have actually hired this year more than 15,000 new employees at United to ensure that we’re ready for this travel crush because it’s not just about Thanksgiving week,” said spokesperson Nicole Carriere. “We’ve seen an increase in travel throughout the year.”

On average, 47 United flights will depart BNA each day during Thanksgiving travel. Sunday, November 27, is anticipated to be United’s busiest travel day since before the pandemic, with more than 460,000 people expected to fly with the airline.

“One thing we’re really telling folks to do this year is make sure that you check out the TSA’s website to make sure you understand what you can and cannot bring in your carry-on luggage,” said Carriere. “A lot of people love to bring those homebaked sweets and treats to their friends and family across the country. Some of those things you can carry on; some of those things you can’t.”

Officials recommend you follow the usual tips like arriving early, planning ahead and keeping track of your flight.

Downloading your airline’s mobile app can also save time. Passengers can access their boarding pass through the app, order snacks, get access to in-flight Wi-Fi and easily connect with agents during flight disruptions.

“Get out early. Definitely don’t do last minute,” said Conway. “Thanksgiving holiday is the busiest holiday for a reason.”

If all else fails, traveler Anne Watford has another piece of advice.

“Relax — that’s probably the biggest thing,” Watford said. “Just relax.”

Airport construction will close some lanes at the airport, especially at night.

If you plan to park your car, don’t forget you can check parking availability ahead of time online.

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