Despite spread of omicron variant, AAA expects 109M Americans to travel for the holidays


TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Americans who had to cancel getaways and get-togethers last year because of the pandemic are making up for lost time this holiday season.

Despite the spread of the omicron variant, travel experts expect more than 109 million to travel in a car, plane or on a train or bus. That’s up 34% from last year.

AAA estimates airlines will see nearly three times the number of passengers compared to last year.

In 2020, there were 2.3 million air travelers. In 2019, there were 7.3 million and this year AAA predicts 6.3 million to take to the skies.

To deal with the 184% increase from last year, airlines are adjusting to meet the demand. United Airlines is flying its largest schedule since the pandemic. It’s adding more than 200 daily domestic flights.

“The holiday bookings, particularly for Christmas and New Year’s holiday are coming in very, very strong,” said Ed Bastian, Delta Airlines CEO.

At Tampa International Airport, travelers are already taking to the skies to spend the holidays with their loved ones.

“It’s fine we travel quite a bit as it is so we’re kind of used to it it’s nothing out of the ordinary,” said Jeff Melrose who is traveling to Montana for the holidays. “We’re vaccinated and done everything we can so just be smart and hope for the best.”

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