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AAA: 84.5 Million Travelers Expected for Holiday Season

AAA: 84.5 Million Travelers Expected for Holiday Season
Joe Cortez

Despite warnings from the U.S. CDC and government officials, AAA projects over 80 million flyers will take to the skies and road this holiday season. Among them are 2.94 million flyers, a decline of over half compared to 2019.

Even though officials are warning holiday celebrations are safer at home, a smaller contingent of travelers are still expected to take to the roads and skies between Dec. 23, 2020 and Jan. 3, 2021. In their annual holiday season projection, AAA says as many as 84.5 million people may still travel to new destinations, or to reconnect with loved ones.

Nearly Three Million Expected to Fly for 2020 Holiday Season

According to the AAA projections, the majority of travelers will travel over the roads to reconnect with friends and family. However, a very small group of 2.94 million flyers are expected to travel by air. If the prediction comes to fruition, it would represent a drop of nearly 60 percent compared to 2019, when 7.33 million took to the skies for the holidays.

With COVID-19 cases on the rise across the United States, government officials and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control are pleading with the public to celebrate with immediate family only. The agency recommends people “spend time with those in your own household,” and “Take care of your body and stay active to lessen fatigue, anxiety, and sadness.”

But even with the new wave of infections, preliminary data from the Transportation Security Administration suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic is not dissuading passengers. Between Dec. 18 and Dec. 20, 2020, the security group screened over one million passengers on three consecutive days. The days marked the first time screenings were over the million-flyer mark since the Thanksgiving holiday period.

Air Travel Presents Potential Risk of Contracting COVID-19 Aboard Aircraft

While airlines are encouraging flyers to reconnect via air travel with studies suggesting cabin air cleaner than office spaces, recent studies are throwing those results into question. A preliminary, pre-published study from a group of New Zealand researchers suggest the novel Coronavirus may have been passed between passengers aboard a commercial flight. More recently, a Los Angeles Times exposé suggests airlines have known about air toxicity problems aboard aircraft, but have refused to act on it for fear of passenger litigation.

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1 Comment

  1. glob99

    December 23, 2020 at 7:30 pm

    So 80 million people didn’t learn from Thanksgiving that travel spreads the virus. It’s like throwing gasoline on a wildfire.

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