Busiest travel times for Thanksgiving holiday; travel tips

VIDEO: Busiest travel times for Thanksgiving holiday

AAA says Thanksgiving traffic this year will be the worst it's been in a decade.

The organization is anticipating the second busiest Thanksgiving travel period this year since it started keeping track in 2000.

AAA's Thanksgiving travel forecast projects that 49.3 million people will drive and 4.45 million people will fly this year nationwide. Another 1.5 million will take trains, buses and cruise ships.

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In the Seattle area, major traffic delays are expected Wednesday with travel times the worst between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. as commuters mix with holiday travelers.

The Washington State Department of Transportation gathered travel times from previous Thanksgiving weeks to determine when you'll see the busiest roads.

On northbound I-5 between Lacey and Tacoma, the busiest time for drivers is between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

On southbound I-5, there's a surge at 7 a.m. then a slight dip until 9 a.m. through 7 p.m., when you'll see stop and go traffic.

On I-90, eastbound traffic peaks between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.

And for drivers on US 2 eastbound traffic is busiest at 2 p.m.

Click here to see travel charts from WSDOT on the busiest driving times this weekend.


As expected, the Transportation Security Administration is reminding travelers at Sea-Tac Airport to expect long lines and big crowds for the Thanksgiving holiday.

More than 55 million Americans nationwide are expected to travel.

TSA said travelers should expect long lines on Wednesday as well as the Sunday and Monday after the holiday.

Nationwide, TSA says it expects to see 27 million more people, or a 4 percent increase, over last year's Thanksgiving flight traffic.

TSA also says there has been a switch in traffic patterns.  People are now staying at their destinations until the Sunday or Monday after the holiday.

Travel tips

- Travelers are also reminded to arrive at the airport at least two hours early for domestic flights and three hours for international ones.

-  You can download the Sea-Tac app to get live checkpoint wait times or check your flight status here.

- Passengers heading to Sea-Tac should be prepared for rush hour congestion on the terminal drives during mornings from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and evenings from 8 p.m. to midnight, according to the airport. Public transportation such as Metro Transit or Link Light Rail can help save time.

- Follow @SeaTacAirport on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for the latest updates inside and outside the terminal.

- For liquids, unless you're checking them in baggage, travelers need to have them separated in carry-on luggage.

According to the TSA, a liquid is anything that takes shape to its container.

"Passengers are allowed to bring a quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes in your carry-on bag and through the checkpoint. These are limited to travel-sized containers that are 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item. Placing these items in the small bag and separating from your carry-on baggage facilitates the screening process. Pack items that are in containers larger than 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters in checked baggage."

- Not sure about what you can and can't bring on a flight?  See a list here.