AAA expects 35% drop in holiday travel in Philadelphia area

Katherine Scott Image
Tuesday, December 22, 2020
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Philadelphia International Airport is expecting 449,500 travelers to pass through from December 19 through December 30.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Just three days until Christmas and Theresa Pisaturo of Bensalem, Bucks County was able to walk right up to security at Philadelphia International Airport.

"It is different compared to pre-pandemic. I mean there would be a line," Pisaturo said.

Drexel University student Julian Flores did not mind the lack of crowds.

"For myself, I kind of like it- get in, get out," Flores stated.

This week, the airport is expecting 449,500 travelers to pass through from December 19 through December 30.

That's down 54% from last year.

Airport spokesperson Heather Redfern explained, "We are seeing people come through, but definitely not at the numbers we had last year."

AAA Mid-Atlantic projects in Philadelphia's five-county region, a roughly 35% drop in holiday travel when compared to last year, with a 62% drop in air travel.

Plans seem more fluid than usual.

"Many people will take the wait and see approach, especially those traveling by car," said Jana Tidwell from AAA Mid-Atlantic.

Tidwell continued, "Most people look at the time between Christmas and New Years as a vacation opportunity, and they are deciding this year not to take that extended vacation."

While some countries are banning travel from the UK due to a coronavirus variant that health authorities say can spread faster than others, there is currently no such ban in the US.

PHL is still operating several flights a week to and from the United Kingdom.

"As far as monitoring and screening passengers, that's all at the discretion of the government, the guidelines put forward by the state DOH (Department of Health) the CDC," explained Redfern.

The Wednesday before Christmas is expected to be a particularly busy day at the airport, as well as the few days immediately following Christmas.