25 Million Expected at U.S. Airports: The Thanksgiving Travel Boom Warrants Immense Gratitude For Our Airport & Airline Workers

By: Tim Fulton, CEO & Founder – Ramper Innovations


With a surge in travel demand this year – airport and airline employees are bracing for impact as record numbers of people worldwide are predicted to travel between the months of November and December. 


In 2021, there were an estimated 20 million people traveling via plane for Thanksgiving in the United States alone, according to the Transportation Security Administration. This year, U.S. airports are expected to see 25 million people pass through for Thanksgiving – a significant increase in capacity from the year prior. 


Another contributor to an impending airport frenzy: CNBC recently reported that people are even swapping gifts for travel this year. Due to rising levels of inflation, many travelers are reassessing their spending priorities and are choosing air travel to see loved ones during this time, rather than purchasing and/or sending material gifts. 


Combined with other factors, this new revelation could mean worse air travel issues this year than in year’s past. Concerns include long security lines, lost luggage, missed or delayed flights, and other operational snafus at airports globally over the next two months. Throw in the labor shortage our airports are currently facing, and the outlook on Thanksgiving-specific travel isn’t exactly the most encouraging. 


The stark uptick in travel this season begs the question: how do airports and airlines get it all done? 


For those of us who are traveling for Thanksgiving this year, it’s sometimes difficult to think about anything other than getting to our final destination. It’s understandable; we want to be with friends and family – especially after a period of time defined by travel restrictions that prevented in-person visits for special Holiday occasions, like Thanksgiving. 


It’s no secret most of us are trained to think about getting to where we want to go, and rarely the journey of getting there. I’d go as far to say the majority of us certainly don’t take into account the people that work hard each year to ensure we’re able to spend Thanksgiving with our loved ones. When inconveniences occur at the airport, we’re frustrated, angry, and oftentimes take it out on airport and airline workers.


As a former ramp agent of 38 years myself, I know this all too well. The Thanksgiving travel season can be grueling, with an increase in the number of bags to load and quick turnaround times from flight to flight. While I never worked in face-to-face customer service at the airports, I have a deep appreciation for those who do – especially during busy travel times. 


This year, I challenge not only myself, but also you to exercise patience, gratitude, and a bit of understanding for those who are sacrificing their time spent with family or loved ones to ensure you can be with yours – whether that’s 100 miles or 10,000 miles away from home. While some of that frustration is bound to remain, it’s helpful to put your travel woes into perspective by considering the concessions of others who would rather be celebrating Thanksgiving from the comfort of their own homes. 


Of course, because our company is Ramper Innovations after all, I’d be remiss to not mention the world’s ramp agents and terminal operators that are an integral piece of making Thanksgiving air travel possible. While you’re boarding the plane, the gate and ramp agents are working tirelessly to make sure 1) you board the plane safely and seamlessly to avoid delays and 2) your bag is loaded onto the plane and travels with you to your final destination (potentially using our product TISABAS to simplify the baggage loading and unloading process 🙂). 


The point of telling you all of this? Simply put: try to be kind to your airport and airline employees as you’re traveling this Thanksgiving. A small thank you goes a long way, and this serves as a reminder of that. 


We are wishing all of our American customers, colleagues, and partners a Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Ramper Innovations!

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