Despite Travel Advisory Heading Into Thanksgiving Weekend South Florida Airports Are Packed

Family with two children going on holiday, wearing face masks at the airport. Courtesy: Shutterstock – Photo By Halfpoint

Despite cautionary health advisories issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pertaining to the 2020 holiday season, people seem to be ignoring the advice and are traveling in droves. 

Historically speaking, Thanksgiving weekend is one of the most travel heavy weekends all year, some would say it’s the busiest. Airfares are well above their normal prices, gas prices skyrocket, and hotels and car rentals see surges that are higher than any point throughout the year. 

People travel from far and wide, cross country, and intrastate to visit family and loved ones for the most communal holiday of the season and that means a lot of traffic. 

But prices don’t usually stop people from booking the last seat on a flight or pumping up their tanks for an extra 20 cents a gallon, so maybe a worldwide pandemic will? Wrong.

Experts believe that this Thanksgiving weekend will boast the highest travel numbers since pre-COVID, despite the CDC’s urge for people to stay home. And according to TSA checkpoint numbers and South Florida airport terminal capacity over the weekend, they may be right.

“The wait-and-see travel trend continues to impact final travel decisions, especially for the Thanksgiving holiday,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president, AAA Travel. “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.”

Miami International Airport and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport saw terminals filled with travel ready families and individuals this weekend, a telling sign that family and sanity won’t stop them from traveling amid a pandemic. 

The American Automobile Association estimates that according to mid-October forecast models, Thanksgiving weekend could see as many as 50 million Americans travel. When compared to last year—only a 10 percent drop from 55 million.

Considering the state of travel, necessary precautions to travel, and this year’s trends, that is more than expected.

As cases rise, so is testing. One of the larger South Florida testing sites at Hard Rock Stadium, saw its highest volume testing date on Saturday with over 3,300 people. 

Despite reports of increased safety in air travel during the pandemic, the CDC is encouraging people not to take any chances, especially this week.

One traveler at Miami international Airport admitted there was a risk in traveling during the holiday season by saying “Well, it’s a lot of germs and you’re coming from state to state,” via Local10 News. 

Below are some of the major airline requirements by liner:

According to Transportation Security Administration (TSA) numbers from this weekend, a total of 3,052,139 people went through some form of TSA checkpoints throughout the country, the highest three day mark since March 14-16. 

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