More travelers returning to the skies this holiday season

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – With Thanksgiving just days away, and with more people vaccinated and this latest wave of COVID-19 under control, many are returning to the skies to visit loved ones who live far away.

Leaders with Huntsville International Airport say they’ll likely be busier than they’ve been in two years.

Staff report a steady incline since late summer for business travel — but lately, there’s been an uptick in leisure trips too.

They expect this holiday season to be even more crowded, with families especially, than it’s been since before the pandemic. If Huntsville’s airport follows national trends then they would be right.

Data shows thanksgiving-week ticket purchases for this year have already risen 78% compared to last year and are even 3% higher than 2019.

The Huntsville airport reports right now, they’re hovering just above 80% of the business they brought in prior to the pandemic, but over the next six weeks, they have high hopes things could keep evolving.

“Were looking forward into December, and we anticipate that’s going to be even higher, maybe even cracking 90% of that travel so that’s a really great sign and what we are encouraging people to do is please be mindful of that. Be mindful flights are going to be at capacity because the availability of flights and the availability of seats and more people wanting to fly,” Public Relations Manager Mary Swanstrom said.

Swanstrom gave some pointers to those heading back to the airports after a prolonged leave:

  • Masks are required inside the airport
  • Avoid bringing wrapped gifts, whether checked or carry-on, they’re subject to be unwrapped and checked by TSA
  • If traveling with children, pack their snacks in a transparent zip-lock baggie for easy, germ-free TSA checking
  • No outside alcohol is allowed on any flight
  • Check TSA.gov and FAA.gov for the most up-to-date airline policies

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