Labor Day weekend travel rising at John Glenn as pandemic continues


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COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Labor Day weekend is expected to be one of the busiest travel weekends since the pandemic started.

According to a tweet from Lisa Farbstein, a TSA Spokesperson, 877,698 passengers were screened on Thursday. She says that’s the highest since the pandemic low point of 87,534 on April 14.

TSA data shows more than 2.1 million passengers were screened on the same day last year.

John Glenn International Airport expects to see higher numbers than it’s been experiencing lately for the holiday weekend, too.

“We are expecting a spike in travel this Labor Day weekend as more and more people are starting to feel comfortable with flying again,” said Sarah McQuaide, manager of Communications and Media Relations for the Columbus Regional Airport Authority. 

According to McQuaide, about 4,000 people have been flying out of John Glenn International each day since July 4. She said that’s about 10 times the amount of passengers in April, the low point since the pandemic began. It is also about one-third of the travel the airport experiences in a normal year. McQuaide said those numbers fall in line with national trends.

Throughout the afternoon on Friday, NBC4 crews didn’t see any extremely long lines, but there was a steady flow of people checking in and going through security.

“I feel fine traveling. I feel as everyone takes proper precautions, we’ll be OK. I don’t feel any less safe doing the traveling around versus going to work and doing some of the soccer, other activities, just a different scene for where I’m going,” said Blake Kaplan who was traveling to Yosemite National Park.

His family packed plenty of masks, hand sanitizer and other items he said they need to feel safe. They booked the trip almost six months ago and took advantage of good airfare. 

“At no point did I ever anticipate it would still be going on, but it is what it is and try and make the best of it,” he said. 

Haylie Phillips flew into Columbus on Friday. It was her first time flying during the pandemic. 

“I was a little nervous just because it is different. you don’t know how other people are going to react and respect your space,” she said. “It was fine, actually. Everyone was super respectfull, wearing their masks.” 

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