Holiday travel during the COVID-19 pandemic

Published: Nov. 24, 2020 at 6:22 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - With health experts discouraging people from traveling for the holidays, millions of Americans are still going ahead with their plans as safely as possible.

Traveling during the holidays can be tough in normal circumstances, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, it can be overwhelming.

“Nobody can predict the future of holiday travel, but to also allow yourself some time to go through these things,” said Sonny Lorrius, TSA Great Lakes Regional Spokesperson.

Traveling from Nevada to visit family in Rockford, Alonzo Ahmed says while planes look significantly fuller than when he last flew this past summer, flight crews are very accommodating.

“There were empty seats, like, say if you weren’t with a party, they would be like, ‘here’s an empty row, do you want to sit here?’” said Ahmed.

Those with the Transportation Security Administration say an estimated 25 million people are expected to pass through airports during Thanksgiving week.

“We expect to see higher numbers going into the holiday season, and travelers can expect to see a few different things as they come to the airport, they might not have been there for a while but they can expect to see a few changes,” said Lorrius.

Through the TSA’s new “Stay Healthy, Stay Secure” campaign, social distancing and masks are required at all checkpoints, updated technology allows for hands free ID verification and frequent cleaning gives passengers like Nicolas Torres a chance to feel safe in the friendly skies again.

“After a while, it just felt like a normal experience of taking an airplane, I just have to wear a mask the whole time,” said Torres.

“We are all navigating this difficult time together. So it’s up to each of us to stay healthy and stay secure; from check in to their final destination,” said Lorrius.

If you plan on taking a feast with you, TSA encourages all passengers to store their food in clear plastic containers. Pies and turkey can go in your carry-on but liquids like gravy and cranberry sauce need to go in checked luggage.

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