SFO not back to normal but expect double the travelers this Thanksgiving week

ByJR Stone KGO logo
Monday, November 22, 2021
Double the travelers expected at SFO this Thanksgiving week
SFO is expected to see more than double the Thanksgiving travel of last year over the course of the next few days.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- If you're flying out of town this week for Thanksgiving, you're not alone. While we're not yet back to pre-pandemic holiday travel levels, we're getting there.

San Francisco International Airport is expected to see more than double the travel of last year over the course of the next few days.

Thanksgiving may be days away but already travelers are running to try and catch their flight out of town. Some are doing so for the first time in a long time.

RELATED: Bay Area residents assess COVID-19 risk ahead of Thanksgiving travel, gatherings

"This is my first journey for three years," said Linda Bennett, who left her home in the Republic of Cyprus more than 24 hours ago.

"It's the first time I've been here, first time I've been to Thanksgiving, and I'm very excited," says Bennett.

SFO's busiest travel day so far this year was last Friday, but they still expect more than double the passengers they saw last year in the coming days.

"We had a little over 52,000 customers fly out and we expect to remain in that 50,000 range right up until Thanksgiving," says Russell Mackey, who is an airport duty manager at SFO.

The Hawaii-bound Liu family is flying for the first time since the start of the pandemic and the first time ever with their 2-year-old.

RELATED: Booster shots for all: US opens COVID boosters to all adults, urges them for 50+

"Some of the concerns, we're going to spend six hours in the plane, hopefully we're going to be fine," says Jack Liu.

UCSF's Dr. Peter Chin-Hong says planes are a very safe way to travel because they're well ventilated and people wear masks on board. He says those traveling should still be cautious about who they are going to visit.

"The larger the group, the more unknown it is, and you're taking more of a risk, particularly if you haven't been boosted because again, immunity is wearing off," says Chin-Hong.

As for the travelers we talked with, Bennett has her booster -- but several others told us not yet.

"Have to wait just a few more weeks before I get it," says Armando Castillo.

"Definitely open to doing it but I just haven't scheduled it yet, probably should have done that before this trip," says Samantha Steinberg.

So many are focused on the tastier things this week. "Turkey, maybe pumpkin pie," says Bennett.

Those with AAA expect Tuesday and Wednesday this week to be the busiest across the country when it comes to air travel.