Record number of travelers expected for holidays

PHOENIX - It's almost time for holiday travel to hit its peak. In fact, AAA officials say they are expecting a record number of people to travel for this Christmas and New Year's. 

They say key factors in the increase of travel are economy, gas prices and weather.  

A record 107 million Americans will be taking to the skies and roads starting December 23rd through January 1.  

Many Arizonans surveyed say they'll stay in-state for the holidays.  

And if you think Mom, Dad and the kids are the ones hitting the roads, you'd be wrong. Michelle Donati with AAA Arizona says couples will make up most of the travelers.  

TSA announced they are adding agents to their busiest airports and Sky Harbor International Airport is one of them.  

This holiday season, more than 34 million passengers and crew are anticipated to be screened from now through January 2nd, according to the TSA.

In a release, TSA says Sky Harbor Airport's busiest days are projected to be Friday, Dec. 22nd through January 2nd, with over 50,000 passengers estimated to be traveling through daily. 

The busiest times at security checkpoints will be in the early morning from about 4 a.m. to 8 a.m.; late morning and again late afternoons. As always, TSA strongly advises travelers to arrive early for your flight.

"If you have a flight that departs before 8 AM we are highly recommending that you come two hours prior," said Lorie Dankers, a spokeswoman for TSA Public Affairs at Sky Harbor International Airport.  

To help handle the increased passenger volume, TSA locally and nationwide intends to operate at full staffing capabilities, as well as extend the hours of their part-time employees.

"Our part time officers will be working overtime, extending their hours. That is already in the works," said Dankers.

Another big change this year, electronics inspection. If you have an electronic device larger than a cell phone, you will be asked to put it in a separate bin.

"What we're asking you to do is put it in a bin with nothing below it, nothing on top of it to put it through the X-ray tunnel," said Dankers. "There's been a lot of open source reporting about terrorists trying to use electronics in battery compartments as a way to harm the aviation system. We don't want to see that here in the United States."

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