ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – Call it the Thanksgiving travel rush at St. Louis Lambert International Airport. Lines are long at Lambert Wednesday morning as people head out on their Thanksgiving trips.

Lambert officials are projecting passenger levels for this Thanksgiving holiday to be very close to where they were before the pandemic in 2019. That’s consistent with what AAA is saying about expected airline traffic across the country this weekend.

AAA expects 4.5 million people nationwide to fly to their Thanksgiving destinations. That is up 8% compared to last year.

If Lambert were to hit 2019 passenger levels, it would mean 16,000 to about 18,000 passengers are departing each day during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Lambert spokesperson Roger Lotz said the numbers do look strong, but he believes the totals might come in just below 2019 totals. However, he did explain that it’s clear people are back to travelling.

Lotz also said that passengers need to arrive there two hours early Wednesday to make sure they can get through the lines and make their flights on time.