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North Texas airports brace for holiday travel

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Dallas-Fort Worth Airport is home to American Airlines and is expecting travel volume to go back to 2019 levels.

Dallas Love Field Airport is seeing 95% of the traveler traffic they had during the holiday season two years ago in 2019, according to Chris Perry, the airport's communication manager. Dallas-Fort Worth Airport is anticipating similar travel rates.

Perry said the airport is doing its part by taking precautions to sanitize and prevent the spread of viruses.

“Enhanced cleaning of those high-touch areas, ensuring that you know everything looks good that once someone if you sit down and eat at the concessions village that that table is cleaned immediately once you're done,” Perry said.

High peak travel occurs two days before and two days after Christmas, so he advises getting to the airport 90 minutes before boarding in order to make sure travelers can make it through security and to their gate as comfortably as possible.

AAA predicted a heavy increase in holiday travel to levels not seen in 2020, with the emergence of a COVID-19 vaccine and booster shots.

“Americans who canceled their vacations in 2020 want to gather with family and friends for the holidays this year, although they will still be mindful of the pandemic and the new omicron variant,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA Travel in a news release. “With vaccines widely available, conditions are much different and many people feel a greater level of comfort with travel.”

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Airlines are reiterating that travel demand is “very strong”.

“We know there is tremendous pent-up demand for air travel,” said American Airlines representative Matt Miller.

“Domestically, demand is very strong and has been for a while now. We have seen strong demand over the holidays,” Miller added. “Internationally, when travel restrictions and requirements are put into place – quarantines, new testing rules, etc. – it has a dampening effect on demand and we have seen that in some places.”

Airlines and the regional airports remind passengers that the federal mask mandate is still in place, which means travelers must wear a mask while in the airport and aboard the airplane.

Got a tip? Email Haya Panjwani at hpanjwani@kera.org. Follow Haya on Twitter @hayapanjw