WASHINGTON – Air travel across the country is down dramatically as the coronavirus pandemic continues, but this holiday weekend drew a spike in fliers we haven’t seen in months. It begs the question, “Is this a sign of air travel confidence growing?”
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BWI airport officials say while passenger traffic remains well below regular levels, they did see some rebound in numbers this weekend. A spokesperson with the airport says on Friday there were over 14,000 departing passengers that went through the TSA security checkpoints — the highest since labor day weekend, and the second-highest in nearly seven months.
In June and July, passenger traffic at BWI Marshall was more than DCA and IAD combined.
“With how well the airlines are keeping everything clean, being on top of everything, I’m fine with it. I’m wearing my mask,” said traveler Wayne Simons.
“I feel safe enough with everyone wearing a mask, I don’t feel any safer than I did a few months ago, I think people are getting tired of COVID,” said flyer Bobby Savioe.
“It does make me a little nervous which is why I wear a very good mask and goggles,” said traveler Nicole Manilla.
“You gotta start getting back to living life, unfortunately, under these times, it’s a risk, have a baby at home, but this my first time traveling…if people wear their mask, I feel a lot more confident,” said Brett Camet.
Some say it’s the low fares that airlines like Southwest are offering, others tell FOX 5, they’re simply tired of the virus controlling their lives.
“A lot of folks are experiencing cabin fever, and with low fares and a holiday weekend, it’s the perfect combination,” said travel expert Troy Petenbrink.
Petenbrink says the upwards trend may not last.
“Whether or not you’ll see these numbers go up again, hard to say. We may see some spikes during thanksgiving and maybe around Christmas.
“Most people right now are traveling for vacation, but when it comes to those family events I’m not gonna go visit grandma. I’m not going to take that risk, and I’ve heard that from a lot of people,” said Petenbrink.
Certain airlines like Southwest are making a commitment to keep the middle seat open till November 30th. Delta will continue blocking middle seats through part of 2021, with the goal to restore confidence in holiday travel.
Some travelers say the fact that mask wearing is being enforced is another big draw.
The CDC says staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others.
This holiday season-it will be key to continue good practices to keep your families safe.