NEW YORK (WABC) -- The holiday travel surge is underway across the tri-state region.
LaGuardia and other airports are expected to see the largest crush of passengers since before the pandemic.
The TSA screened 2,207,949 people at airport security checkpoints nationwide yesterday. It was the sixth consecutive day with checkpoint volume topping the 2,000,000 mark.
Thanksgiving air travel is only 9% lower this year than at the same time in 2019.
Since airports are crowded again, authorities are advising travelers to get there early, just as before the pandemic - at least two hours before a domestic flight and and three hours before an international flight.
Families told Eyewitness News this morning they are looking forward to reconnecting with loved ones for the holiday for first time in almost two years.
"We're super excited," said one traveler.
"We're going to visit my sister and from there we're going to Disney World," said Christian Soriano.
"It feels a lot better - a lot," said Thomas Ward. "With the headaches and stuff going on, it's crazy."
"I would still travel here and there," said Jordan Levalleay. "It's nice to be able to freely go wherever you want."
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said nearly 5 million air passengers and vehicles are expected to use its airports and vehicular crossings today through Sunday.
The agency estimates that approximately 3.5 million vehicles will use its bridges and tunnels over the 5-day period, which would be similar to vehicular volume over the same pre-pandemic holiday period in 2019 in keeping with recent traffic trends.
To accommodate anticipated significant vehicular volume, all lane closures for non-emergency construction at its crossings are suspended through 5 a.m. Monday, November 29, for the Thanksgiving holiday.
And speaking of highway travel, with gas prices rising, President Joe Biden offered a Thanksgiving gift to Americans feeling pressure at the pump.
On Tuesday, the president announced he is releasing some 50 million barrels of oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
It is the largest single release ever from the 620-million-barrel reserve.
It comes as gas prices for this holiday are more than $1.28 higher per gallon than they were this time last year.
But experts warn any effect on local gas prices could take weeks.
"America has reopened and along with it, gasoline demand has surged," said Patrick De Haan of GasBuddy. "The problem is that oil production has not rebounded enough. It's been chasing demand."
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