America travels for Thanksgiving

By Elise Hammond, Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 5:57 p.m. ET, November 24, 2021
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5:21 p.m. ET, November 24, 2021

If you haven't headed to the airport yet, here are some tips on navigating your Thanksgiving flight

From CNN's Marnie Hunter and Pete Muntean

People wait in the line to clear through the TSA checkpoint at Miami International Airport on Wednesday, November 24.
People wait in the line to clear through the TSA checkpoint at Miami International Airport on Wednesday, November 24. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The Transportation Security Administration expects to screen more than 20 million people at airport security checkpoints nationwide over a 10-day period that started Friday and lasts through the Sunday after Thanksgiving.

"I wouldn't say there's any worry because we planned for this for months in advance," TSA Administrator David Pekoske told CNN's Pete Muntean. "We have a lot of data, we work very closely with the carriers and the airports, so we know what to anticipate and then we staff to the volumes that we expect to see."

The TSA anticipates the Sunday after Thanksgiving will likely see the highest numbers thanks to a rush of travelers returning home, but they will probably not reach the all-time record set on the same day in 2019 when 2.9 million people were screened at airports.

Air travelers should definitely be prepared for crowds, said Andrew Gross, spokesperson for AAA.

"So we're telling people, look, you're going to find lines at the airport. It's just inevitable. So get there that old-fashioned at least two hours early. And if it's an international flight, three hours early."

If you haven't gotten on your Thanksgiving flight yet, here are some tips for your trip:

  • Try the airline website or app to get rebooked if your flight is canceled. It's usually faster, according to Kathleen Bangs, a former airline pilot and spokesperson for FlightAware.
  • Book nonstop flights offered several times a day on major carriers to up your odds of getting rebooked on the same itinerary in a timely manner, said Willis Orlando, senior product operations specialist at airfare deals site Scott's Cheap Flights.
  • To be really safe, book a backup flight.
3:01 p.m. ET, November 24, 2021

Threat of wildfires in California could lead to Thanksgiving power shutoffs

From CNN's Joe Sutton and Kelly McCleary

Blustery and dry Santa Ana winds are whipping up a wildfire threat in Southern California this week, threatening a potential power shutoff over the Thanksgiving holiday.

A red flag warning affecting 17 million people went into effect Wednesday morning for Ventura, Los Angeles, portions of San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange and San Diego counties, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

A red flag warning means critical fire weather conditions are expected, including strong winds, low relative humidity and warm temperatures, the NWS said.

The warning will be in effect through Friday afternoon.

Winds will be strongest Wednesday afternoon, according to the NWS. Some areas could experience isolated gusts of 60 to 70 mph across the foothills and mountains.

In the San Diego area, conditions will be slightly better with wind gusts up to 60 mph and relative humidity between 7% and 15%, CNN meteorologist Robert Shackelford said.

The gusty conditions could lead to delays at airports in the region.

Utility companies in the region are preparing for the wind event and warning residents power could be disrupted in an effort to prevent fires.

Track weather conditions in your area here.

2:28 p.m. ET, November 24, 2021

Runway construction to cause delays at this Dallas airport tonight

Passengers flying out of Dallas Love Field airport in Texas will run into some delays on Wednesday evening.

The Federal Aviation Administration says departures will delayed an average of 25 minutes due to runway construction. The FAA said there will be a ground delay from 4 p.m. ET through nearly 10 p.m.

Additionally, the FAA said departures from Miami International in Florida are delayed an average of 30 minutes due to “many aircraft trying to taxi at once, creating congestion."

You can check the status of your flight with FlightAware here.

12:48 p.m. ET, November 24, 2021

Here's how Thanksgiving hosts can be careful with guests traveling from around the US as Covid-19 cases rise

Americans are traveling for Thanksgiving across the country as United States sees Covid-19 cases rising in more than half the states. Two-in-three people say they will celebrate with friends or family outside their immediate households, and about half of those say their gatherings may include unvaccinated people, according to an Axios/Ipsos poll.

So how can hosts be careful with guests traveling from around the country and gathering at the table?

"Have the conversation, ask the question. Don't do it in a confrontational or hostile way, but simply inquire," says Dr. David Kimberlin of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. "If they're not vaccinated, perhaps use that for an opportunity to say, 'look, I love you ... I really would appreciate it if you got vaccinated. It's something I want for you just as it's something I want for my own family as well.'"

In most situations, it's OK to come together for the holiday in a careful manner, he adds. "It's been a long time. And we need to celebrate and be thankful for where we are with the pandemic."

Here's what Kimberlin recommends:

If all household members and guests are vaccinated and your locality does not have high transmission rate, "you can gather inside without masks and be very confident that everyone will be safe," he said.
However, if you're in a high-transmission area and members of your household are not vaccinated, it's a risky situation.
"In that kind of a scenario, you may want — out of an abundance of caution — to have people be tested before they come into the house. And make sure that, in fact, they are negative using the rapid tests that are pretty widely available."
12:03 p.m. ET, November 24, 2021

Colorado officials urge travelers to be careful in mountain snow

An airport in Colorado is reporting a delay on arrivals because of a low cloud ceiling as millions of people are expected to fly for the Thanksgiving holiday, the FAA said.

Here's a look at where things stand as of 12 p.m. ET:

  • Arrivals to Aspen/Pitkin County Airport in Colorado are delayed an average of 30 minutes.
  • Departures from Chicago's O'Hare International Airport are delayed an average of 15 minutes.
  • Departures from Teterboro Airport in New Jersey are delayed an average of 30 minutes.

The regional National Weather Service in Grand Junction, Colorado, which covers the Aspen area, said it expects those clouds to decrease. It said in a tweet that a few snow showers are expected to linger over the mountains today.

The National Weather Service in Boulder, Colorado, already saw some of that snow this morning. It tweeted photos of road conditions, urging people to be careful if they are driving in the mountains.

See the tweet:

You can check the status of your flight with FlightAware here.

11:56 a.m. ET, November 24, 2021

Looking for traffic details or cooking tips? We've got you covered on all things Thanksgiving

Travelers carry luggage as they arrive at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport November 23, 2021 in Arlington, Virginia. 
Travelers carry luggage as they arrive at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport November 23, 2021 in Arlington, Virginia.  (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Stuck in the passenger's seat on a road trip or at an airport? Looking for some tips on cooking a turkey? Need something to pass the time?

CNN has got you covered. We got all the Thanksgiving-related content you need to get through the holiday.

11:04 a.m. ET, November 24, 2021

These 3 airports are reporting departure delays

As people start traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday, some airports are reporting delays Wednesday morning, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

As of 11 a.m. ET, here is where things stand:

  • Departures from Chicago O'Hare International are delayed an average of 15 minutes.
  • Departures from Philadelphia International are delayed an average of 15 minutes.
  • Departures from Teterboro in New Jersey are delayed an average of 45 minutes.

Experts say you should arrive at the airport early to give yourself plenty of time to get through longer TSA lines and other travel checkpoints. For domestic travel, US travel organization AAA suggests 2 hours ahead of departure time and 3 hours for international.

You can check the status of your flight with FlightAware here.

11:04 a.m. ET, November 24, 2021

Biden encourages Americans to give thanks as many travel for Thanksgiving gatherings

From CNN's Betsy Klein

U.S. President Joe Biden walks to the West Wing from Marine One on the South Lawn off the White House on November 21, 2021 in Washington, DC.
U.S. President Joe Biden walks to the West Wing from Marine One on the South Lawn off the White House on November 21, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

President Biden issued a presidential proclamation today ahead of Thanksgiving Day tomorrow and acknowledged that for some Americans, it "will be the first time gathering with loved ones in person since the start of the pandemic."

“I encourage the people of the United States of America to join together and give thanks for the friends, neighbors, family members, and strangers who have supported each other over the past year in a reflection of goodwill and unity,” Biden said.

He gave thanks for farm workers and frontline workers, for educators, for parents, for health care professionals, for researchers and scientists and for US troops.

“For the First Lady and me, Thanksgiving has always been a cherished time to enjoy annual traditions that have evolved into sacred rituals with our children and grandchildren: throwing the football, preparing family recipes, lighting candles, and setting the table. For many Americans, this Thanksgiving will be the first time gathering with loved ones in person since the start of the pandemic — a time of full tables and full hearts,” Biden said.

He continued, “As we celebrate, we will also be thinking of the many families feeling the pain of an empty chair at the Thanksgiving table. You are not alone, and our Nation stands with you.”

11:08 a.m. ET, November 24, 2021

Travelers expected to head to beaches and big cities this Thanksgiving, AAA says

From CNN's Elise Hamond

The sun rises above 42nd Street during a reverse 'Manhattanhenge' in New York, New York photographed from Weehawken, New Jersey on November 24, 2021. 
The sun rises above 42nd Street during a reverse 'Manhattanhenge' in New York, New York photographed from Weehawken, New Jersey on November 24, 2021.  (Yuki Iwamura/AFP/Getty Images)

As the United States starts to open up and relax Covid-19 restrictions, people are heading to beaches and big cities for the Thanksgiving holiday.

AAA booking data shows big cities and tropical destinations are topping travelers’ list both domestically and abroad.

Here is a look at the top destinations in the US:

  • New York, New York
  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Dallas, Texas
  • Phoenix, Arizona
  • Anaheim, California
  • Orlando, Tampa and Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
  • Honolulu and Kahului, Maui, Hawaii

International bookings show the same trend, according to AAA.

Travelers are expected to set off to places like Cancun, Mexico; Montego Bay, Jamaica; Aruba, Aruba; Los Cabos, Mexico and Nassau, Bahamas.