If you thought things seemed busier than usual at Oakland International Airport during the recent Thanksgiving travel week, it wasn’t just your imagination taking wing.

The number of travelers departing from Oakland more than doubled this Thanksgiving holiday week compared with last year, airport officials said.

Over 148,000 people departed the airport between Friday, Nov. 19, and Sunday, Nov. 28 — or 2.5 times the number last year during the same period and 77.5 percent of the 2019 pre-pandemic level.

A chart shows daily passengers through Oakland International Airport for Thanksgiving holiday week 2021 returning close to pre-pandemic levels. (Image courtesy of Port of Oakland)

The day when travel came the closest to reaching pre-pandemic levels was Nov. 21, when traffic was 86.3 percent of 2019’s total, according to airport officials.

“While this Thanksgiving was certainly a busy one for Oakland International Airport, careful coordination and cooperation with our airline and security partners resulted in smooth operations at OAK throughout the travel week,” said Bryant Francis, director of aviation at the Port of Oakland, which operates the airport.

The day before Thanksgiving was the busiest travel day of the holiday week, as nearly 17,300 people departed the airport. Sunday departures were close behind with nearly 17,200 people flying.

The day with the fewest passengers in the period was Thanksgiving Day with about 10,600 departures, airport officials said.

Keith Burbank is currently a fulltime reporter covering Alameda County and Oakland news for Bay City News. He has also worked on the Data Points project for Local News Matters, finding trends and stories about the region through data. In 2019, he was a California Fellow at the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism, producing a series about homeless deaths in Santa Clara County. He worked as a swing shift editor for the newswire for several years as well. Outside of journalism, Keith enjoys computer programming, math, economics and music.