AUSTIN (KXAN) — Despite warnings and pleas from health officials for people to stay home for Thanksgiving due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport was very busy Wednesday morning.
KXAN’s Nabil Remadna went out to the airport to see what it looked like, and he saw long lines at check-in counters and kiosks and people filing through the airport toward security checkpoints to make their flights.
Thursday is expected to be the busiest day of pre-Thanksgiving travel this holiday. Sunday is expected to be the busiest travel day overall.
As of 6:30 a.m., security checkpoint wait times at AUS range from three to 13 minutes.
Employees at the airport anticipated the increased traffic and have stationed “safety ambassadors” throughout the airport to remind people to practice social distancing and make sure they keep masks on.
Travel at AUS is still down about 60% from what it was at this time last year, airport officials say, but relatively speaking, they expect holiday travel to lead to the highest crowds at the airport since before the pandemic.
A recent survey of passengers through AUS said they felt confident in the airport staff’s ability to keep flying safe. Of more than 790 respondents to the survey, more than 95% of them said they felt the airport was taking the right steps to ensure the heath and safety of passengers.
The survey was offered online and in-person in September and October, and people who had traveled at least once since March were eligible to take it.