Millions of Americans are still spreading their wings for Thanksgiving.
As coronavirus case numbers continue to spike and lockdown restrictions increase, the nation’s airports reported relatively brisk business over the weekend.
Although the Centers for Disease Control issued guidelines last week recommending against Thanksgiving travel, the Transportation Security Administration reported screening just more than 2 million people over the two days.
That’s still historically low compared with the same days last year – about 42% of the volume screened in 2019 – but they are the second- and third-busiest days for airport traffic since mid-March.
The CDC is not so much worried that flying will spread cases of the disease; its concern lies with large family gatherings during the holiday.
The airline industry is leaving the decision to consumers, according to the head of the industry’s trade group.
“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.”
According to AAA Travel and airport officials, Thanksgiving air travel is expected to drop by 50% this year, the largest percentage decline on record. The auto club added that travel by other means of mass transportation, like buses and trains, is projected to drop by 76%.
AAA predicts that most people will travel by car this year.
“The wait-and-see travel trend continues to impact final travel decisions, especially for the Thanksgiving holiday,” AAA Senior Vice President Paula Twidale said in a statement.
“The decision to travel is a personal one. For those who are considering making a trip, the majority will go by car, which provides the flexibility to modify holiday travel plans up until the day of departure.”