People are already hitting the roads and airports for the holidays

Crowds at Reagan National Airport Dec. 20, 2021. (WTOP/Luke Lukert)

At Reagan National Airport, Monday morning saw long security lines and thousands of passengers dropping off large bags, no doubt stuffed with Christmas presents to share with friends and family.

AAA estimates around 110 million people are traveling for Christmas this year, bringing the U.S. to 92% of pre-pandemic levels. Most will drive, but AAA says around 6 million will fly.

The busiest travel days are expected to be Wednesday and Thursday, as well as Jan. 2.

“Definitely arrive early,” said Natalie, who was flying home to Houston. “And I will tell you that travel was extremely crazy.”

The Transportation Safety Administration urges all domestic flyers to get to the airport at least two hours early — three hours for a destination outside the U.S.

This comes as the country is seeing COVID-19 spikes and new concerns regarding the omicron variant.

Rob was one of the early flyers this holiday. He was headed to Boston Monday morning to visit family.

“I was hoping there’d be less people,” Rob told WTOP. “I’m definitely concerned. I do have a booster, so I feel a little bit better about that. And I’ve worn an N95 mask. You know, I’m trying to stay as safe as I can.”

Natalie said the latest wave would not ruin Christmas with her family, despite her own concerns. 

“It’s definitely on the back of my mind, you know,” she said.

Luke Lukert

Since joining WTOP Luke Lukert has held just about every job in the newsroom from producer to web writer and now he works as a full-time reporter. He is an avid fan of UGA football. Go Dawgs!

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