Millions flying out for Thanksgiving despite warnings against travel

By , WCBS 880 Newsradio

The weekend ahead of what’s known as the busiest travel time of the year, Thanksgiving, has already proven to be busy for airports.

The Transportation Security Administration estimates roughly 2 million people flew out on Friday and Saturday ahead of Thanksgiving, despite health experts strongly urging against travel for the holiday.

CBS News travel editor Peter Greenberg said this year isn't just about seeing family, it's also about getting a change of scenery.

"Two things are happening here, you've got a lot of pandemic fatigue, people with pent up demand trying to get out, and you combine that with how many people are working from home or working remotely," said Greenberg. "The celebration here is not necessarily around turkey, let's not kid ourselves, the celebration here is just getting out of town."

New York City's LaGuardia and Kennedy airports as well as other major travel hubs have been much busier than they've been for the last seven months, Greenberg said.

He adds hotels are even filling up in major tourist cities like Santa Barbara and San Diego while flights to the West Coast are cheap.

Greenberg, who has flown on about 20 flights in the past two months, said airlines are doing a good job at disinfecting, but social distancing is an issue, where closing the center seat still does not give six feet of separation between passengers.

"United and American never claimed they were going to block the center seats, only Delta, Alaska and Southwest have done it, so if you're flying American and United the chances of you being on a very full flight during this particular week are pretty high," Greenberg said.

Greenberg said responsible behavior should be at play here and if the CDC says don't travel to see relatives, families should pay attention.

CBS News transportation correspondent Kris Van Cleave said air travel is expected to be down about 50% to 60%, but millions of people are still expected to fly or drive to see relatives this Thanksgiving and that has health experts worried about a surge in coronavirus ahead of the December holidays.

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