San Francisco International Airport. (Mike Koozmin/S.F. Examiner file photo)

Busy airports expected during holiday travel season

San Francisco is one of the top destinations for Thanksgiving travelers this year and area airports are expecting to see those travelers boost their passenger traffic numbers.

San Francisco is the number two destination in the nation for Thanksgiving travel, outranked by only Las Vegas, Nevada, based on American Automobile Association bookings.

At Oakland International Airport, officials expect to see holiday traffic figures boosted by 10 percent over last Thanksgiving. And just in time, the airport this week opened an in-terminal passenger lounge in Terminal One where passengers can relax, enjoy high-speed internet and eat before flying. The Escape lounge opens as the airport has seen nearly 36 months of continuous growth in passenger traffic.

At San Francisco International Airport, traffic numbers for the overall holiday season are expected to be 5.7 percent higher than last year. The airport plans have to turn on 3.3 million LEDs as part of a holiday lighting event at 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

Airport officials have also made plans for Dec. 5 to reveal the latest member of the Wag Brigade, which brings trained dogs to terminals to boost passengers’ cheer. But the newest member of the Wag Brigade is not a canine, according to airport officials. Airport spokesman Doug Yakel would not reveal who or what the newest member is.

AAA officials estimate that one million more people will travel 50 miles or more for the Thanksgiving holiday period this year compared with last year. That’s the most since 2007. AAA officials cite economic reasons, such as rising wages and savings on gasoline, for the increase.

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