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TSA says federal vaccine mandate won't bog down travel during Thanksgiving this year

TSA officials said Monday about 93% of their employees nationwide met the federal mandate deadline or exemption requirements.

HOUSTON — Monday is the deadline for federal workers to meet the Biden Administration’s vaccine mandate.

RELATED: Vaccine mandate for federal workers goes into effect Monday

The mandate includes Transportation Security Administration workers at airports across the country.

TSA officials said Monday about 93% of their employees nationwide met the federal mandate deadline or exemption requirements.

They promised the vaccine mandate will not impact holiday travel.

"For security reasons, I can’t discuss individual airport numbers”, TSA's Texas spokesperson told KHOU via email. "Both Houston airports are staffed and able to meet the travel uptick for Thanksgiving travel season.”

Passengers at George Bush Intercontinental Airport who had just landed Monday morning told KHOU that everything seems to be fine.

“The lines were moving pretty well and I think we were all satisfied,” said Juan Gonzalez, who arrived from Denver.

Nick Gasparro also came from the Mile High City.

“No complications,” Gasparro said. “Security was actually not bad in Denver at all. We got through everything fine with a baby.”

According to the Houston Airport System, the longest wait time around 3 p.m. Monday was 25 minutes in Terminal A at Bush. It was less than 10 minutes at IAH’s other terminals, as well as at Hobby.

Airport officials expect more than 1.9 million people to fly through Bush and Hobby during the 13-day Thanksgiving travel period.

RELATED: Traveling for Thanksgiving? | What to expect before you head out

That’s 159% higher than in 2020 but 15% lower than in 2019, before the pandemic.

“Be aware of what you have on your baggage because we don’t want to create any delays at the TSA checkpoints,” said Augusto Bernal, a spokesperson for the Houston Airport System.

Bernal recommends getting to the airport an hour earlier than usual because of the crowds and construction.

“Book your parking online,” Bernal said. “That’s going to be the fastest way to guarantee that parking spot.”

Passengers can check security wait times on the Houston airport system’s website, fly2houston.com, or through the TSA app.

The federal mask mandate is still in effect, so passengers will need to wear them inside airports and while flying.