Holiday Air Travel off to Big Start

Category: Transportation

Holiday Air Travel off to Big Start

RICH THOMASELLI NOVEMBER 23, 2020

Well, if Friday and Saturday (Nov. 20 and 21) were any indications, the holiday air travel season is going to be a big winner for the airlines.

Despite warnings from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommending against travel for Thanksgiving, the Transportation Security Administration reported screening 2 million passengers on those two days, the second-and third-busiest days for U.S. airport travel since the coronavirus pandemic brought air travel to a standstill back in March, according to CNN.

Friday saw just over 1 million passengers go through airports, and Saturday had just under 1 million. The biggest day since March was on October 18, when 1.03 million passengers went through security.

The 2 million passengers that were screened on Friday and Saturday was still 58 percent less than the number of travelers who went through security during the same time frame last year. That’s still a significant dropoff but a small victory nonetheless for the airlines in the face of a global resurgence of COVID-19, subsequent dire recommendations by the CDC to avoid travel, and restrictions by some states to limit the number of people gathering in a home for Thanksgiving.

New York, for instance, is mandating no more than 10 guests indoor for the holiday, prompting hilarious memes as well as this entrepreneur who created a window sticker that makes it appear New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is spying on people.

CNN noted that the rush of travelers came on the day that Johns Hopkins University reported a record 195,542 new cases of the virus. But, as many psychologists have predicted, people are suffering from ‘COVID-fatigue’ and are longing to travel, particularly to see loved ones.

In fact, American Airlines said it will increase its schedule by about 15 percent during Thanksgiving week, compared to the rest of November, from a daily average of 3,500 flights to more than 4,000 flights.

The airline industry’s top lobby group, Airlines for America, said it is neither encouraging nor discouraging holiday travel.

"Do we want to see them travel? Yes, but only if it's safe for them," said Nick Calio, CEO of Airlines for America. "There's a variety of factors involved in that for each individual traveler."

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