About 1.7 million travelers are expected to pass through Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport during the week-long Thanksgiving travel period, a 3 percent increase from last year.
The busiest day will likely be Sunday after Thanksgiving, airport officials said, with the Wednesday before Thanksgiving also crowded as usual. On Wednesday, the airport expects as many as 57,000 travelers to go through security at Hartsfield-Jackson, compared with an average of 38,000 to 40,000.
"We're asking people to come early and have plenty of time," said Louis Miller, general manager of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
The Transportation Security Administration said people should be aware of some changes in security procedures.
On the imaging machines used for some travelers at security checkpoints, the TSA this year put in new software to protect privacy, replacing images of specific passengers with generic outlines.
TSA also has new procedures to reduce pat-downs of children under 13, though they do not eliminate the possibility. Children under 13 will also be able to leave their shoes on when going through security.
And some of the most frequent travelers on Delta, the airport's main tenant, will be able to go through expedited screening through the new TSA PreCheck "trusted traveler" type program. Those who qualify use a special lane at Hartsfield-Jackson's South security checkpoint, where they can keep their shoes and belts on and leave their bags of liquids in their carry-ons.
The airport and TSA plan to have extra staff on hand.
AAA said it expects a 1.2 percent increase in Thanksgiving air travelers in Georgia this year compared with last year. Many more people travel by car, however, and AAA projects a 3.3 percent increase in auto travelers in Georgia, along with a 14 percent increase through other means such as bus or train. AAA said economic conditions are prompting people to travel by alternative modes.
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