RSW sees drop in holiday travel, more traveling by car

Reporter: Morgan Rynor
Published: Updated:
FILE: Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) – Credit: WINK News.

It was slow at Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) on the afternoon of Thanksgiving Eve.

Many people we spoke to had to make hard decisions: to travel or not to travel, to host or not to host. But more people are traveling by car this year, not by air.

Everyone we spoke to said they are doing what they can to protect their loved ones when they visit them; wearing masks when they travel, sanitizing, socially distancing when they can.

But being together still comes with risk in the era of COVID-19, and people know that.

AAA Auto Club expects about 120,000 Floridians to fly this year, which is half of what the numbers looked like in 2019.

But people traveling by car stayed about the same at 2.62 million, which is only down 0.8% year over year.

The CDC is warning people not to spend the holidays with anyone who doesn’t live in your household.

Travelers at the airport said it’s important to be around family right now and they are doing everything they can to stay safe.

Malike Gilliam was traveling from North Carolina. “I’ve been tested several times, never had it. I have traveled a few more times. I’ve traveled to California, and as long as I’m safe and doing what I’m supposed to do, I shouldn’t get it.”

Brian McGovern of Fort Myers Beach also had no concern flying. “I think you’re safe here. As much safe here as Walmart, Target, or Publix.”

We don’t have the full numbers for November yet, but as of October, RSW is still a few hundred-thousand people short of the numbers they were seeing last year. However, it is steadily increasing.

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