VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - Airports across the U.S. are experiencing a holiday travel surge despite the current COVID-19 outbreak.
Millions of Americans are traveling ahead of Christmas and New Year’s. Some public health experts have warned people to stay home.
Valdosta Regional Airport has been seeing a travel spike this season.
“People have been very cooperative, I think a lot of folks are just happy to be going somewhere else than just staying at home, even though we know that the exposure is out there. They seem to be happy and very happy to be on their way somewhere,” said Jim Galloway, the airport manager.
He tells us air travel has been going good and has been picking up during the holidays.
On Wednesday, the long term parking area was nearly full.
Galloway says they currently have three flights coming out of Valdosta. It will slow down to two on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
He says Delta has been limiting up to 70 percent capacity in a 50 passenger seat airplane.
They’ve been filling it up to that percent.
“We really dropped back in April I think it was, we went down to hardly anybody flying, and the airlines scaled back to one flight per day. But then it’s been steadily climbing back up and we’re almost 50 percent of where we were a year ago. And in some cases in Valdosta, we’ve actually exceeded the percentages of recovery of passengers flying out just slightly above the national average,” said Galloway.
Galloway says they’re happy to see travel picking back up.
Around the country, TSA reported screening nearly a million passengers Tuesday.
That’s about a million fewer than the same day last year.
It’s the fifth straight day the air travel numbers are nearly exceeding a million people.
The CDC recommends postponing travel and staying home this year.
For those who must fly, the CDC has a few recommendations including:
- Getting your flu shot first.
- Wear your mask around the airport and inside the plane.
- Social distance.
- Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your mask, eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Bring extra supplies, such as masks and hand sanitizer.
AAA projects about 85 million people will travel this year for the holidays between Dec. 23 and Jan. 3, mostly by car.