Thanksgiving Travel Live Updates: Airlines Under Pressure as Millions Fly Across U.S.

Live Updates

Airlines are coming under significant pressure as millions of people fly across the U.S. to join their families for Thanksgiving tomorrow. The Transportation Security Administration predicts at least 20 million people will pass through American airports over the next few days - almost a return to pre-COVID levels.

It comes as airlines continue to struggle with the impact of the pandemic, with figures showing nine of the largest U.S. companies canceling 1.9 percent of flights from June through October this year and the industry suffering from chronic understaffing.

The highway network is also expected to come under increased pressure, with plenty more users on the roads than last year and a sudden dip in gas prices in some states encouraging more to drive.

Follow Newsweek's liveblog for all the latest...

Where are the worst airports for delays?

Newark Liberty International Airport is the worst place for delays of 15 minutes or over, data from the Department for Transportation shows.

Figures between August 2018 and August 2021 show that almost 30 percent of flights were delayed at the airport on average by year.

  1. Newark Liberty International Airport - 28.26pc
  2. LaGuardia Airport - 25.60pc
  3. San Francisco International Airport - 22.76pc
  4. Boston Logan International Airport - 22.45pc
  5. Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport - 22.44pc
  6. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport - 21.34pc
  7. Orlando International Airport - 20.64pc
  8. John F. Kennedy International Airport - 20.60pc

January 6 riot suspects ask permission to spend Thanksgiving with families

A member of the far-right Oath Keepers and two people accused of assaulting police officers are among the Capitol riot suspects who have requested permission to travel across the states to spend the holiday season with loved ones.

Several suspects accused of taking part in the January 6 attack - who are not being held in custody - have submitted formal court requests to make Thanksgiving travel plans without violating their pretrial release conditions.

FULL STORY: Multiple Jan 6 Defendants Request Permission To Travel Over Thanksgiving

Biden to spend Thanksgiving at billionaire's home

The Bidens will spend the holiday at the home of David Rubenstein on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, in a revival of a family tradition of spending the holiday on the island.

Forbesestimates that Rubenstein is worth $4.5 billion, but he won't be in attendance because he's reportedly traveling abroad. He also served as a White House official under former President Jimmy Carter before co-founding The Carlyle Group.

FULL STORY: Joe Biden to Spend Thanksgiving at Home of Billionaire Businessman

Over $6 for gas recorded in downtown LA

Drivers in many states will be paying the highest gas prices at this time of year for many years - despite the national average dipping slightly in recent days.

Those filling their tanks on the west coast - particularly California - are being hit the hardest by prices.

That is despite yesterday's announcement from the White House about the release of oil reserves to lower prices - but the effects won't be felt for at least another month.

Bidens celebrate early Thanksgiving at Fort Bragg

The President and First Lady said they "know firsthand what it means to be a military family" after a visit to the military base to meet veterans, those currently serving and their families.

Good morning and welcome to Newsweek's liveblog

Millions are traveling across the U.S. to join their families for Thanksgiving as airports and roads so far cope with significantly increased pressure.

Follow Newsweek's liveblog throughout Wednesday for all the latest.

Live updates have now ended

United Airlines starts morning smoothly

The airline will be carrying millions of passengers over the holiday season - many today - but it seems to be coping with busy airspace at present.

Cargolux redesigns its plane to 'never fly without its mask'

The airfreight company and Dallas Fort Worth International Airport issued a reminder on Twitter this morning to passengers about the importance of wearing a face-covering in busy spaces, with airports expected to be packed throughout the rest of this week.

'Take the turkey, but leave the gravy'

Airports are warning passengers to leave at home traditional Thanksgiving items that break flying rules around dangerous items, such as gravy.

That is, unless, a family is happy with 100ml or less flown in a travel bottle.

Joe Rogan or Anthony Fauci? Americans decide who they'd rather spend thanksgiving with

Americans split on Rogan/Fauci Thanksgiving
American are split on whether they would prefer to spend Thanksgiving with Joe Rogan or Dr. Anthony Fauci Getty Images

Joe Rogan put himself on the wrong side of Dr. Anthony Fauci when the comedian advised his younger fans in April not to get vaccinated and again when he said that he treated his August bout of COVID by taking a host of supplements and medications - but who would Americans rather spend Thanksgiving with.

Polling from the Trafalgar Group found the public was split, with 51.3 percent favoring Rogan compared to Fauci at 48.7 percent.

Unsurprisingly, the vote broke down largely along party lines, with 83.1 percent of Democrats preferring to dine and party with President Joe Biden's chief medical adviser and infectious disease expert, while only 17.1 percent of Republicans chose Fauci, as their preferred Thanksgiving guest.

FULL STORY: Anthony Fauci vs. Joe Rogan: Poll Reveals Americans' Preferred Thanksgiving Guest

Strong winds 'could lead to delays' at major airports

As the weather turns bitter on the west coast, delays could hit key airports in parts of New York and New Jersey, according to the FAA.

Newark Liberty International Airport, JFK International Airport, and LaGuardia International Airport could all be affected.

Michigan reintroduces COVID coverings advice ahead of Thanksgiving

Health officials in Michigan are recommending residents wear masks while indoors throughout the holiday season as the state battles its latest surge of virus cases.

The Michigan Department of Health & Human Services (MDHHS) said that every individual over two years old is advised to wear a mask while attending indoor gatherings "until further notice," regardless of vaccination status. Businesses were also advised to create a process or policy "to ensure that all persons entering or seeking services, including employees, wear a mask".

FULL STORY: Indoor Masking Returns to Michigan Before Thanksgiving as State Battles COVID Spike

Airports tell passengers: 'Arrive hours before your flight'

The largest U.S. airports are being flooded with people hoping to fly away for Thanksgiving this morning.

But as with every year, passengers have been left frustrated at delays in bag checking and queues resulting in them missing their flight.

Biden orders release of 50 million barrels of oil from reserves to lower gas prices

The president said the step is being taken "in parallel with other major energy consuming nations including China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea and the United Kingdom" in a bid to address the worldwide supply shortage.

It should be good news for drivers hoping to travel by road for Thanksgiving but it is not clear whether the impact will reach customers before the weekend.

U.S. adds four countries to COVID 'do not travel' list

Some people hoping to travel abroad to meet family for Thanksgiving could be disappointed today after the State Department and the CDC updated their travel advice yesterday.

People looking to travel to Germany, Denmark, Burundi, or Iraq for the holidays are being advised to avoid the countries after a recent spike in COVID cases, being moved to the highest 'Level 4' status.

"Because of the current situation, even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants," the CDC website states.

Are you gathering ingredients for Franklin on Animal Crossing?

Celebrations are coming to Animal Crossing: New Horizons as Nintendo's wholesome title puts on its annual "Turkey Day" event - which will this year coincide with Thanksgiving on Thursday.

On the day, players need to gather ingredients for local chef Franklin. In exchange for your help, he will reward you with rare items and even furniture for your home.

The precise timing of the celebration is currently unknown but players can listen out for unique music and look for new decorations to adorn their island, with top cook Franklin hanging around outside of Resident Services.

Animal Crossing players to get Thanksgiving experience
Animal Crossing's Turkey Day will coincide with Thanksgiving this year Getty Images

When is the best time to drive?

Millions are expected to hit the roads to travel for Thanksgiving - 90 percent in the next couple of days - according to figures from AAA.

The company believes this is due to the flexibility of driving plus COVID safety, with many not comfortable with getting on an airplane just yet.

But what times are best to drive? The association advises not to travel between 2.30pm and 6.30pm and instead set off in the early morning.

Thanksgiving feast to cost around 14 percent more this year - American Farm Bureau

The insurance company and lobbying group said that an average Thanksgiving meal for 10 people will cost around $53.31 this year - a 14 percent increase compared to 2020. A study by the firm took Thanksgiving staples, including turkey, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, a vegetable tray, and rolls, to calculate the result.

Analysts are concerned by the figures due to one simple fact - the costs for meals since 2015 have been falling. But recent inflation has been hitting hard and could put that trend in reverse for some time.

FULL STORY: U.S. Thanksgiving Feast Estimated to Cost 14 Percent More This Year Thanks to Inflation

Gas prices drop nationally - but not for everybody

Filling the tank will hit its highest of the year in Florida, according to AAA, the Auto Club Group, despite gas prices suddenly dropping in most states recently.

The average price per gallon in the state on Monday was $3.35 per gallon - higher than in any state south of Illinois and east of Colorado.

The statewide average was just below the national average - $3.42 per gallon - with Tampa Bay averaging a cent or two below that, according to price tracking site GasBuddy.

WATCH: White Castle releases new spicy stuffing recipes for Thanksgiving on OnlyFans

It is somewhat a tradition for the burger chain to share its stuffing recipes in November each year now, with the new Southwest Jalapeno Cheese Slider making a debut this week.

Watch the video below to see how it's made...

'One person checking bags at Buffalo Airport'

A passenger has expressed fury at an apparent lack of people checking bags, telling Delta that people in his queue "won't be making" the 6am flight - set to take off in 15 minutes - "because there's isn't a chance in you know what that a single employee can check 40 peoples bags in that time".

Delta apologized and said it would send a message to its team at the airport.

LAX tells passengers to 'add extra time'

The airport is having a train guideway constructed over four roads entering and exiting on Century Boulevard until 6am local time (9am ET).

Delta expects nearly six million passengers over Thanksgiving

The airline said it expects 5.6 million people to board its planes across the U.S. this week. Chief Health Officer Dr. Ting said the best thing people can do is "simply be prepared" before traveling.

Delta teams have been working throughout the pandemic to make it easier for customers to navigate changing travel requirements and day-of-travel challenges. I encourage anyone traveling with us over the holidays to get to know the resources our teams have made available.

Delta Airlines expect 5.6 passengers over Thanksgiving
A Delta airlines aircraft landing from Los Angeles at Kingsford Smith International airport on October 31, 2021 in Sydney, Australia James D. Morgan/Getty Images

Gas prices dip slightly ahead of Thanksgiving

The news will be a relief for both drivers and the White House, with a halt to soaring prices since President Biden took office. The national weekly average had dipped by 1.2 cents per gallon as of Monday, with a much more significant drop expected over the next few weeks.

Last month's average was still 3.7 cents higher than September and more than $1.30 higher than the average at the same point last year.

FULL STORY: Gas Prices Dip Before Thanksgiving, Easing Pressure on Drivers and Joe Biden

How reliable will airlines be this year?

Nine of the largest U.S. airlines canceled 1.9 percent of flights from June to October this year - an uptick from the 1.6 percent during the same period in 2019, according to aviation data provider Cirium.

There have been more days of acute misery in that same time as well, with 147 days when the top airlines canceled 5 percent or more of their flights, compared with just 85 such days in 2019.

Analysts will be waiting to see if airlines can avoid a return to the catastrophic scenes last month with cancelations commonplace and hundreds of thousands left stranded.

Good morning and welcome to Newsweek's liveblog

Millions of people are setting off on Thanksgiving flights and car journeys this morning, with airlines facing pressure to keep things running smoothly.

Follow Newsweek's liveblog throughout Wednesday for all the latest travel updates.