2491 Winchester Rd., Memphis, TN 38116
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MEM expects 90,000 people to pass through TSA checkpoint for Thanksgiving travel period

Passengers should arrive at airport a minimum of 2 hours before departure time

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (November 15, 2023) – Approximately 90,000 people are expected to pass through the TSA checkpoint at Memphis International Airport (MEM) during the peak Thanksgiving travel period, which will take place November 17-27. The peak days are expected to be November 17 and November 26 with estimated throughputs of 10,000 and 11,000, respectively.

Thanksgiving continues the trend of heavy passenger traffic at MEM. According to TSA, a total of 259,251 people passed through the security checkpoint in October 2023. The heavy traffic represented an 18.2% increase from October 2022 and a 9.5% increase compared to October 2019. Much of this traffic came during the five-day Fall Break period, which was the busiest Fall Break in TSA’s history at MEM with 50,598 screened during that time.

MEM continues to strongly recommend that passengers arrive at the airport a minimum of two hours before their scheduled departure time. This is especially important for travelers with early morning flights between 4-7 a.m.

Passenger Travel Tips

  • MEM recommends that travelers arrive at the airport a minimum of TWO HOURS before their scheduled departure time.
  • Prior to coming to the airport, passengers can also save time by checking in online via their airline’s website.
  • Passengers should check directly with their airlines to monitor schedules.
  • Airlines rather than the airport are responsible for all aspects of ticketing, scheduling, gate operations and baggage handling. Check with your airline if you have questions about these subjects.
  • MEM parking lots are likely to reach capacity during peak travel days. When this occurs, additional signage will be added, and additional parking staff will help direct drivers to available parking spots and overflow lots.
  • For convenience, drivers parking in the overflow lot may want to drop off luggage and other passengers at the terminal before parking.
  • Shuttles are operating between the overflow parking lots and the terminal.
  • New parking rates went into effect on November 1:
LotShort Term ParkingLong Term ParkingEconomy ParkingBlue/Yellow Lot
0-30 min.:FreeFreeFreeN/A
After 30 min.:$4/hr$4/hrNo Hourly RateNo Hourly Rate
24-hour daily max:$24$15$9$9
Click on any lot title above for full details. All parking at MEM is first come, first served.

The Wise Omega Bodega now open at MEM

Passengers can now enjoy Wiseacre Brewing Company beers for the first time at Wise Omega Bodega, a new bar at MEM located between gates 21 and 23. The new 17-seat location serves several of Memphis’ most popular craft beers on draft. The Wise Omega Bodega also has a full bar, serving wine along with a variety of spirits for travelers to enjoy neat, on the rocks, or in an expertly crafted cocktail.

Corky’s BBQ available at Memphis Made, Grizz Grill

A staple of Memphis BBQ culture since 1984, Corky’s BBQ is a beloved institution in our community. Passengers at MEM can now enjoy all of the best that Corky’s has to offer, including ribs, pulled pork, pulled chicken, nachos, coleslaw and BBQ beans! Made onsite, Corky’s menu items are available now at Grizz Grill and Memphis Made.

Music at MEM

Live music will return to MEM on November 20 and 21 at the rotunda music stage. Sponsored by Memphis Tourism, Yearwood and Ford will perform on November 21 while the Terry “Big T” Williams Duo will play on November 21.  


  • TSA uses Computed Tomography (CT) equipment at MEM. With the improved security capabilities of CT equipment at the MEM checkpoints, passengers can now leave their laptop computers, electronic devices and 3-1-1 compliant liquids in their carry-on bags for screening.
  • There are size limitations for these CT units and all items must fit into the grey divesting bins. The height of the item must not exceed the CT tunnel height. Nothing can be placed directly on the moving belts. All oversized bags must be checked at the airline ticket counters because they will not be accepted for screening at any TSA checkpoint. Bin size dimensions are as follows:
    • Width:  19.5 inches
    • Length: 24.5 inches
    • CT Tunnel Height: 16.5 inches
  • Passengers must place every carry-on item, including bags, into a bin for screening. Light items should be placed at the bottom of the bin to avoid anything falling out into the tunnel and causing an unnecessary bag jam.
  • Passengers are also reminded to bring a maximum of one carry-on bag and one personal item through security screening.
  • Travelers are encouraged to examine carry-on luggage to ensure no prohibited items are contained within, and review the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA’s) list of prohibited items.
  • Firearms in carry-on bags are prohibited by federal law. Firearms can be transported in checked baggage if they are properly declared to the airline and packed in accordance with TSA guidelines.

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