talking turkey day travel

Houston airports predict 159 percent surge for Thanksgiving travel

Houston airports predict 159 percent surge for Thanksgiving travel

George Bush Intercontinental Airport Houston
Expect a mass of Thanksgiving travelers — as well as delays. Photo courtesy of Visit Houston

Arguably the biggest travel day of the year is upon Houston and the city’s two airports are preparing for the surge and preparing vacationers.

According to a new announcement from Houston Airports, George Bush Intercontinental (IAH) and William P. Hobby (HOU) will see more than 1.9 million passengers during the 13-day Thanksgiving travel period.

By the numbers, this influx represents a 159 percent increase from the same period in 2020, and a -15 percent difference from pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels in 2019.

Specifically, Bush is expected to host approximately 1.4 million passengers, while Hobby will see more than 500,000 voyagers, all starting the Thursday before Thanksgiving to the Tuesday after the holiday.

Importantly for Bush travelers, the airport’s Terminal E will make way for the new International Terminal, which includes the demolition of the Terminal D/E garage. With that, the travelers should expect massive traffic congestion, especially during peak travel times.

The ongoing construction at IAH will cause delays; travelers should add an extra hour to arrival time to comfortably reach their gate. Drivers are advised to use the cell phone lots to wait for those arriving, as opposed to curbside.

Parking reservations are highly recommended ahead of time to secure a coveted space. Or, pre-book, adjust, or make valet reservations at  

Finally, travelers can monitor TSA checkpoint wait times in real-time. Find Hobby Airport wait times here and Bush Airport’s here