CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Despite concerns about COVID-19, flu and respiratory syncytial virus, travel experts believe holiday travel will bounce back in a big way this year.

Staff at Gerald R. Ford International Airport are expecting a busy week. Generally, the airport sees about 75,000 passengers within a week.

Though lines weren’t long at Ford Airport Wednesday morning, they are expected to return to pre-pandemic levels, with more than 70,000 passengers coming through the airport through Monday.

“We are very happy to have people back, very excited to see this many travelers coming back to the airport because it means people are able to connect with friends and family and go do the fun things that they want to do,” said Airport Authority President and CEO Tory Richardson.

As you prepare to pack your bag for your air travels, you want to make sure you’re not the one holding up the Transportation Security Administration line with what’s in your bag.

Thanksgiving foods that can be carried through a TSA checkpoint:

  • Baked goods. Homemade or store-bought pies, cakes, cookies, brownies and other sweet treats.
  • Meats. Turkey, chicken, ham, steak. Frozen, cooked or uncooked.
  • Stuffing. Cooked, uncooked, in a box or a bag.
  • Casseroles. Traditional green beans and onion straws or something more exotic.
  • Mac n Cheese. Cooked in a pan or traveling with the ingredients to cook it at your destination.
  • Fresh vegetables, including potatoes, yams, broccoli, green beans, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, beets, radishes, carrots, squash and greens.
  • Fresh fruit, including apples, pears, pineapple, lemons, limes, cranberries, blueberries, strawberries, bananas and kiwi. 
  • Candy
  • Spices

Thanksgiving foods that should be carefully packed with your checked baggage:

  • Cranberry sauce. Homemade or canned are spreadable, so check them.
  • Gravy. Homemade or in a jar/can.
  • Wine, champagne, sparking apple cider.
  • Canned fruit or vegetables. It’s got liquid in the can, so check them.
  • Preserves, jams and jellies. They are spreadable, so best to check them.
  • Maple syrup.

“Sometimes people are traveling and this might be their opportunity to do some of their Christmas exchange. We see a lot of gifts that are wrapped again. You shouldn’t have gifts wrapped in your package because they’ll have to go through additional screenings,” Richardson said.

Operation Handshake will make a return this holiday. Beginning at 8 a.m. Wednesday, the public can welcome veterans and active military members to Grand Rapids to recognize them for their service.