JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – AAA officials say travel will increase over Memorial Day weekend from last year because more Americans have been vaccinated against COVID-19 and consumer confidence is growing.
The auto club and insurance company said nearly 2.5 million Americans will take plane trips, nearly six times more than the same period in 2020.
Additionally, it expects more than 37 million people to travel at least 50 miles from home during the weekend, up 60% from last year, which was the lowest since AAA began keeping records in 2000.
Deprived of their high school senior trip, a traditional graduation and the senior prom, Cassidy Miller and Emma Winset are flying out to California for two weeks to make up for lost time.
″We’ve had a very boring quarantine year, and now that we are vaccinated, we are going to do something fun. More people are going to travel,” Winset said.
At the Jacksonville International Airport on Wednesday, there were long lines at the check-in counters, and more foot traffic than some airline employees said they’ve seen in months.
″I’m just pleased to see people getting back to life, family traveling. We’ve got family traveling in today. First time we’ve seen them over a year -- that kind of stuff is great,” said Tom Roth.
As travel rebounds, TSA is warning passengers to allow extra time before their flight. Flyers are still required to wear their masks -- something some travelers have had an issue with.
″I’m a no mask-leaning person, number one, but on a plane I’m certainly going to wear my mask. I’m not going to be an idiot,” said Kim Kindig, a traveler. “You’re in tight quarters. You’ve just got to go along.”
AAA said 34 million Americans plan driving trips between May 27 and May 31, a 52% increase over last year. A small number will take buses or trains.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.