Travelers pack BWI Marshall Airport for July 4 holiday

Throngs of travelers gather at BWI Marshall Airport to travel for the July 4 weekend.

This group of Boy Scouts from Severna Park, Maryland, was ready to get going to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico.

Throngs of travelers gather at BWI Marshall Airport to travel for the July 4 weekend.

Throngs of travelers gather at BWI Marshall Airport to travel for the July 4 weekend.

Throngs of travelers gather at BWI Marshall Airport to travel for the July 4 weekend.

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Ticket counters and security lines were busy but moving along Friday at BWI Marshall Airport as travelers were eager to hop on planes again for the July 4 holiday.

A group of Boy Scouts from Severna Park, Maryland, was ready to get going.

The coronavirus pandemic had canceled their hiking trip to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico.

“This is the third attempt for some people in this group,” said Peter Hoffensetz, who was accompanying the scouts on the trail.

He said the scouts were looking forward to it, and he was excited to get to travel again.

“Actually packing your bag up, zipping it up for the last time was great, it’s fantastic,” Hoffensetz said.

Waiting for her flight was Lisa Myers from York, Pennsylvania.

She’s heading to Texas and said it’s the longest trip she’s gone on since the pandemic began.

“Can’t wait to get out there and get back to living life again,” Myers said.

Dale Houck from Carlisle, Pennsylvania, was getting ready to head to Texas for the holiday as well.

He said it’s good to see people out traveling again.

“I think people were tired of it and they’re ready to get out and have fun. Get back to life,” Houck said.

He’s already planning future trips and was shocked to see how many people have made reservations for upcoming trips.

“I’m going to a motorcycle event coming up soon and for the first time in like seven years everything is sold out,” he said.

Hoffensetz said the airport was busier than he thought it would be. They had to drive around quite a bit to find a parking spot.

“It’s busier than I thought, definitely,” Hoffensetz said.

Nationally, AAA forecasts that more than 47 million people will travel by car or plane this weekend in the U.S., a return to 2019 levels and 40% higher than last year. That includes 3.5 million airline passengers.

President Joe Biden has welcomed the holiday as a historic moment in the nation’s recovery from a crisis that has killed over 600,000 Americans and led to months of restrictions that are now almost gone. He plans to host more than 1,000 people at the White House — first responders, essential workers and troops — for a cookout and fireworks to mark what the administration is calling a “summer of freedom.”

“I’m going to celebrate it,” Biden said Friday ahead of the holiday. “There’s great things happening. … All across America, people are going to ballgames, doing good things.” But he also warned that “lives will be lost” because of people who didn’t get vaccinated.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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