WACO, TEXAS — Over 80 million Americans are expected to get on a plane or hit the roadways to visit loved ones this week according to AAA. That number though is still much lower than in recent years.
In fact, it’s a Christmas travel week so unique, it has health officials advising us to stay home completely.
“It’s a time of year where we want to be together and we understand that,” Erin Riley, the public relations and marketing manager at AdventHealth said. “But it’s also more important than ever that we follow those safety guidelines.”
In Waco, you’ll find an unusually quiet airport during a usually hectic time of the year, less crowded runways and a luggage carousel rarely ringing its alarm.
“Typically, during this time of year, it’s pretty busy as far as number of flights and the number of passengers,” Joel Martinez, the director of Aviation for the city of Waco said. “Obviously we’re down compared to last year.”
Martinez said the airport served hundreds of travelers a day... then the pandemic hit. Now, it’s lucky to see a fraction of that.
“With everybody taking their precautions and visiting loved ones and family and returning home, you know we’re seeing those numbers are obviously pretty low for us,” he explained.
If you do plan to travel for the holidays, health officials advise utilizing hand sanitizer and washing your hands, wearing your mask and staying a safe distance away from others.
“We are prepared for whatever may come, but we want to just encourage people to use good sense, use those safety guidelines,” Riley said. “We’re here to care for them in any matter that they may need us.”
Officials feel those guidelines if followed correctly, can make for a safe flight.
“If they’re adhered to, I feel it’s fairly safe,” Martinez said. “As far as the airport, we increased the frequency of our cleaning, common areas, bathrooms, all the typical things that we’ve seen across different industries.”
Martinez explained how this time has given the airport a chance to breathe and figure out how to best serve its customers when they’re ready to fly again.
And remember, if you are looking to travel out of state to check with your destination’s state guidelines and restrictions before booking a ticket.