By Dillon Thomas

DENVER (CBS4) – DENVER — Travel through Denver International Airport is expected to break records since the start of the pandemic with an estimated 2 million travelers passing through during Thanksgiving week. United Airlines, Denver’s largest commercial airline provider, says it set a daily record for 2021 on Nov. 19 and is expecting more than 45,000 passengers on their airline alone in Denver.

“We want to welcome them to the friendly skies again,” said Matt Miller, VP of the Denver Hub for United.

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A look at TSA lines at Denver International Airport on June 23, 2021. (credit: CBS)

Miller said he expected those numbers to be beaten in the coming week.

“This holiday season is expected to be the busiest we’ve had,” Miller said.

Many airlines have had issues during recent months fulfilling original bookings. Flights on airlines have been cancelled, and other direct flights have been replaced with flights requiring a layover elsewhere.

Miller said United has been able to stay with their scheduled flights with nearly all of them remaining as previously scheduled.

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During the pandemic some customers on airlines have become unruly and disruptive, often related to a federal law requiring masks.

“Traveling is stressful in general, but certainly now with all the additional precautions you have to take and policies that are in place with masks both at the airport on board,” Miller said.

Though gathering in an enclosed space in close proximity to others always comes with inherent risks during the pandemic, Miller said planes can be some of the most safe indoor places.

“The air filtration on aircraft with (air) filters is one of the safest places to be indoors,” Miller said.

Miller said the significant increase in passengers taking to the sky in recent months is promising for those who work in the airline industry.

“The pandemic has been a devastating time for this industry, but to see demand coming back and our customers returning, many of which are returning for the first time this holiday season, to see friends of family, is a really welcome site. Our employees are excited, and we are excited for what the next year has in store for us,” Miller said.

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The busiest travel days expected for the week or a Thanksgiving are Wednesday and Sunday.

Dillon Thomas