11:37 AMSaturday, March 6, 2021
Travel experts are ready for a post COVID-travel boom. There are signs that people are ready to travel again.
Spring Break Travel
March is expected to be the busiest month at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic one year ago. This despite urging from the Minnesota Department of Health to avoid nonessential travel.
MSP could see a few days peaking at more than 28,000 passengers going through its checkpoints in March, which is well over the current pandemic peak of nearly 22,000.
Pre-pandemic, busy spring break travel days often saw up to 45,000 people passing through the airport’s security checkpoints.
Pent-Up Travel Demand
Julie Harper-Wylie shopped at the AAA Headquarters in St. Louis Park to prepare for an upcoming Florida trip.
“I was a flight attendant for 34 years, so travel is in my blood,” she said. “We take a large trip every year. Our last one was the year before the pandemic.”
Harper-Wylie and her husband put a pause on their travels because of the pandemic. But after getting vaccinated, the couple feels more confident to fly again.
“There’s a bright spot out there now that the vaccines are rolling out,” said Linda Snyder, vice president of AAA Travel and Retail Services.
As vaccines allow people to venture out more, travel agents anticipate the industry to thrive.
“People are ready to go. They want to spend money and have a change of scenery. We all love to travel,” said Snyder.
Lower airline tickets and relaxed cancellation penalties are also incentives. Snyder said people are booking for 2022 already and in some cases 2023.
Popular destinations like Europe and Canada aren’t yet open so more people are flying domestically. Snyder said more families are going to national parks or traveling by car.
If you’re taking to the skies, there are restrictions that include masking up and social distancing. In some airlines, such as Delta, middle seats are blocked.
“We are finding that there’s space in Mexico and the Caribbean. If you’re comfortable doing that, you do have to test before coming back to country. But the resorts are doing that for you,” explained Snyder.
Whether you’re traveling by car or flight, the climb to normalcy looks promising.
“2022 will be really a big rebuilding year and then we’ll ramp up from there,” Snyder said.
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