COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Many central Ohioans are returning home after a busy Christmas weekend, but with COVID-19 concerns impacting trips for many, airport travelers are reacting to hectic holiday season.

“There’s no place like home. There’s no place like…I couldn’t wait to get back,” Columbus resident Robert Towns says as he waits for his luggage at the baggage claim.

For Towns, his impromptu Vegas vacation was not the holiday getaway he had hoped.

“I basically stayed in my room,” explains Towns, who was surprised by how many people traveled to Vegas for the holiday. “I couldn’t afford to catch COVID. So, I just looked out the window and window watched, people watched rather.”

From the hotel to the plane, there was much more than a window view for Towns this Christmas.

“The flight back, there was a lot of delays. So, it was kind of terrible,” summarizes Towns of his trip.

Airports across the country were packed this weekend as tens of millions of travelers took the skies for the Christmas holiday.

“There are a lot of people,” recalls Peggy Heffernan, who is returning from California to visit her son for Christmas. “Last night at the airport in Las Vegas it was after midnight and there were so many people there.”

But with COVID cases surging, it’s not just those traveling fighting to stay healthy.

“I’m vaccinated and my families vaccinated, and we’re all good about wearing our masks,” describes Jessica Greenwald, an Oklahoma resident.

Greenwald, who was visiting her parents the holidays, says she appreciates how seriously airlines and Columbus leaders have taken the pandemic.

“I appreciate everyone’s willingness, at least that I’ve encountered, to comply with airline rules and stuff. Makes it easier for everyone,” Greenwald admits.

Airlines like Delta and United were forced to cancel hundreds of flights due to staffing shortages over the weekend.

But Columbus officials say the impacts at CMH have been minimal.

“We had a disastrous trip on the way home,” Heffernan details, “With a flight being delayed and then missing our connection, then having to spend 24 hours in Las Vegas trying to get back on another flight.”

John Glenn International Airport says they estimate more than 230,000 passengers will pass through security over the holiday season.

But with New Year’s Day and a Buckeye Rose Bowl on the horizon, officials warn the busy travel period hasn’t passed just yet.

And for those planning to travel to-or-from John Glenn this week, airport officials are warning travelers to make sure that they check the status of their flight ahead of time.

They also recommend you arrive at the airport at least 2 hours before your flight and remind all travelers that the federal mask mandate remains in effect.