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Mostly smooth sailing at U.S. airports on busiest travel day since pandemic began

Travelers returning home Sunday after the Thanksgiving holiday are encountering busy airports and full flights, but relatively few of the problems that have plagued air travel in recent months.

The holiday week has been a test of whether U.S. airlines have done enough to prevent the kinds of snafus that have resulted in major meltdowns and thousands of canceled flights.

Sunday was set to be the busiest travel day since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, with the Transportation Security Administration predicting some 2.4 million people would pass through U.S. airports. Daily airport passenger volumes exceeded two million people for seven straight days through Wednesday, Nov. 24. After more muted volumes Thursday and Friday, TSA screened over 2.2 million people on Saturday.

For the most part, the week has gone smoothly. From Monday, Nov. 22, through Saturday, airlines canceled around 400 domestic flights — just 0.33% of what was scheduled, according to FlightAware, a flight-tracking site. On Sunday, around 50 flights to, from or within the U.S. had been scrapped.

An expanded version of this report appears on

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