Airport travel increases for Thanksgiving

Airport travel increases for Thanksgiving
Officials say growing air travel in Birmingham's airport is a sign of a strong economy. (Source: {WBRC})

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Birmingham Shuttlesworth International Airport officials said the crowds this holiday season aren’t as busy as it’s been in previous years, but it is certainly more busy than it has been during the pandemic.

The lowest travel day for the airport was back in April when about 100 people flew out. Airport officials expect to see upwards of 2,000 plus people depart on trips.

Things started to pick up last Friday and they expect to see high numbers through Sunday when everyone comes home. This is consistent with national trends.

More than 3 million people passed through airport check points from Friday to Sunday, a record weekend for air travel since March.

Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel holidays and airport officials have been getting ready.

“This is the largest passenger volume we’ve seen since the pandemic started,” said Candace O’Neil, Public Relations-Marketing Manager, “We’ve had time to prepare. We know a lot more now about the pandemic than in March and April when the pandemic started.”

Some of the things leaders learned more about was how to keep you safe. Masks are required on flights. Airport officials said they’re taking extra precautions to keep people safe and passengers are taking precautions.

Dylan Valentine, a student, was headed home to Canada to be with family for Thanksgiving. He says he wasn’t too concerned about traveling because of the safety measures and because the steps he’s taken.

“For the last two weeks, I’ve been self-isolating, making sure I don’t catch COVID from anywhere. To come to the airport today I have my hand sanitizer on me and going to make sure I keep my distance from most people,” said Valentine.

“We have social distancing markers throughout the floor to help with distancing. There’s plexiglass shields at all the customer service counters. We have hand sanitizer stations and we’re also doing electrostatic spray throughout the terminal just to make sure all the seats and high touch areas are clean,” said O’Neil.

If you have a last minute flight airport leaders suggest downloading your airline’s mobile app so you can do mobile boarding.

A lot of the restaurants and retailers here are also doing contactless payment. TSA also allows you to bring up to a 12 oz bottle of hand sanitizer through the checkpoint.

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