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The Pandemic May Limit Thanksgiving Travel For Texans, But It's Not At A Complete Standstill

An american airlines plane at DFW airport.
An American Airlines plane at DFW airport.

Fewer Texans are traveling this Thanksgiving because of the pandemic, but that doesn't mean everyone has forgone their holiday travel plans.

AAA Texas says 4 million Texans will still travel for Thanksgiving this year, down 5% from last year.

In a video from the automobile association, spokesman Daniel Armbruster said a big reason for that decline is health and safety concerns. More than half of U.S. states are seeing their highest COVID-19 case counts thus far.

"Some states have increased their restrictions, others have rolled back those reopening processes," Armbruster said. "So the combination of those factors alone have been nearly universal in negatively impacting consumer optimism around travel."

Those who are traveling are hitting the road this year in place of flying.

North Texas-based Southwest Airlines and American Airlines have cut their November flight schedules because of low demand.

Southwest says gradual improvements during the last quarter have stalled in recent weeks. The Dallas-based carrier noted that uneven recovery in a regulatory filing last Thursday.

But there is some optimism about airline recovery in light of recent news about two potential COVID-19 vaccines nearing approval.

A recent Harvard study also found that flying can be a low risk activity, as long as proper precautions are taken.

Those include an onboard ventilation system, universal masking by all travelers and employees, social distancing during boarding and deplaning, as well as pre-flight health screenings and disinfection of high-touch surfaces.

Those who will travel for Thanksgiving should be aware of local and state restrictions, including testing requirements and quarantine orders.

Got a tip? Email Rebekah Morr at You can follow her on Twitter @bekah_morr.

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Rebekah Morr is KERA's All Things Considered newscaster and producer. She came to KERA from NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C., where she worked as a news assistant at Weekend All Things Considered.