More people will be traveling over the river and through the woods — including many with Thanksgiving dinners in tow — than in previous years.
The Chicago Department of Aviation said Monday that this holiday week will be record breaking for airline travel through O’Hare and Midway airports. Nearly 1.5 million passengers are expected to travel through O’Hare between Tuesday and next Monday, Nov. 26, and more than 540,000 passengers are expected to go through Midway, according to CDA.
Overall, the number of passengers traveling through both airports is up by 5.4 percent from this time last year, aviation officials say.
In Illinois, AAA reports nearly 2.5 million people will be driving, up 4.7 percent from 2017.
Illinois Tollway officials expected 9 million people will use the state tollway system for the holiday weekend. The heaviest traffic is expected on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving.
AAA and INRIX, a transportation analysis company, report the worst time to be on the road on Wednesday will be between 2:30 and 4:30 p.m.
AAA recommends drivers take their cars to a trusted repair facility to perform any needed maintenance before heading out. AAA expects nearly 360,000 motorists will need assistance or rescuing over the holiday — with dead batteries, lockouts and flat tires being the leading reasons for car trouble.
The Transportation Security Administration recommends arriving to the airport two hours before the scheduled departure for domestic flights and three hours early for international flights.
Overtime hours and increased staffing has been allocated to make security screening more efficient, TSA officials say.
As for turkeys, pies and carving knives, yes, the TSA says people do and can bring their Thanksgiving dinners in their checked and carry on luggage.
However, there are some rules and tips from the TSA to follow to ensure Tom Turkey gets through security, too:
Turkey: If you’re bringing a raw turkey in your luggage, TSA recommends that it be frozen solid. If you’re bringing the bird in your carry-on bag, you’ll need to place it in its own tray for a secondary screening. Cooked turkey and leftover turkey sandwiches can go in carry-on bags.
Side Dishes: Any liquid sides like cranberry sauce or gravy can go in your carry on if they’re 3 ounces or less. Otherwise, place your cans and jars in your checked bags. Casseroles that take the shape of their containers and comply with the 3-ounce rule can also go in carry on bags. But it may be wiser to check the green bean casserole and stuffing.
Desserts: Pies, cakes and cookies can go in your carry-on, but take them out and put them in separate trays for security screening.
Utensils: Carving knives, electric or otherwise, should be sheathed or securely wrapped in checked luggage. Knives, other than plastic or rounded butter knives, are prohibited in carry on bags.
Presents: TSA advises that presents during this holiday time remain unwrapped so they can be screened without having to remove decorative paper. Gift bags are another good option.