Thanksgiving travelers head to Reagan National Airport, despite CDC warnings

Canceling Thanksgiving travel plans isn’t an easy decision, and while many have chosen to heed official advice and stay home this holiday season, travelers still made their way to Reagan National Airport on Tuesday morning to catch flights.

Mid-pandemic the airport looks different than travelers might recall: Check-in lines are socially distanced, safety screens separate passengers from airline employees and some have even opted for doubling up on masks.

Passenger Daniel Salazar admits it doesn’t help that he and others are traveling this week, but told WTOP he believes airlines have taken enough precautions that he he said he feels confident departing Virginia — though he’s not as optimistic about the situation in his destination, Texas.

“Here in Virginia it’s been mostly under control until recently, but in Texas, I think they’ve been mismanaging the situation the whole time,” he said, adding that when he returns home, he’ll be quarantining for the recommended two weeks to keep from spreading the disease.

Traveler Evin Jonathan is headed to Florida for the holidays and feels pretty safe about traveling: “I feel like a lot of the airlines are taking the virus seriously and I do make sure I wear a mask and that I get an exit row seat just in case.”

Air travel rebounded over the summer but has not returned to pre-pandemic levels. About a million Americans are estimated to have traveled over the weekend, and experts are warning that a wave of travel while cases are soaring could put further strain on hospitals and medical resources during the winter months.

WTOP’s Melissa Howell reported from Reagan National Airport.

Melissa Howell

Melissa Howell joined WTOP Radio in March 2018 and is excited to cover stories that matter across D.C., as well as in Maryland and Virginia. 

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