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Eastern Carolina airport sees holiday travel bounce back from pandemic lows

Published: Nov. 24, 2021 at 7:01 PM EST
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ONSLOW COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) -Some holiday travelers are heading out for the first time in a while to see some very special people for Thanksgiving.

Heidi Kidwell says, “We’ll I’ll see my daughter and family. My grandson is four years old and he is very excited to see his Omee!”

After months of not flying, Kidwell said the COVID-19 vaccination helped get her ready to travel again. “So, I feel safe now to fly,” she exclaimed.

As the numbers suggest, Kidwell is one of many feeling more comfortable flying these days.

“We fell off about 35 percent over the Thanksgiving travel period last year. We have recovered to that point and beyond. So we’re actually busier than we were in 2019,” said Albert J. Ellis airport director, Chris White.

Busy airports might bring some added stress, that’s why White encourages people to arrive early. He says, “It reduces that stress of travel and it gives you a little bit more time to find your parking space.”

He also advises flyers to pack a little patience as passengers get back into the swing of things. “This pandemic has stressed everyone in many different ways. So, if you’re patient on your travels and if you follow the rules and other people follow the rules then it will be a very smooth trip,” he said.

Passengers should also remember their face coverings. Federal law requires they be worn inside airports and on planes.

According to White, the airport is expecting about 12,000-14,000 flyers throughout the 11 day Thanksgiving travel period.

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