Holiday travel picks up across Virginia, but still below pre-COVID levels

Virginia

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — The holiday travel season remains in full swing as some travelers make their way back home after weekend celebrations.

AAA projected 2.9 million Virginians will travel during the holiday period this year, from December 23rd to January 2nd.

That’s a 32% jump compared to 2020, but still down 10% from 2019, before the pandemic.

For the most part, those journeys are going to be made by car: AAA expects 90% of Virginians traveling this year will be driving.

Although air travel makes up a much smaller portion of trips, it’s still expected to spike by 178% compared to 2020, but will be down 14% from 2019.

Adam Pettus, who flew into Richmond International Airport Monday, said he noticed a difference.

“The crowds were gathering mostly in the early morning when the big flights were taking off,” he said.

RIC said 11 flights were canceled from Christmas Eve to Monday. Troy Bell, with the Richmond International Airport, said there were 448 scheduled flights over the holiday weekend. The cancellation rate is less than 3%.

However, thousands of other flights were canceled or delayed at airports across the country because of COVID-19.

Pettus said he wasn’t directly affected by cancellations, but had to make a last-minute flight change.

“I just had to reschedule a flight, but besides that it’s all been great,” he said. “Good holiday season despite COVID and everything being like it is.”

AAA said Americans want to go on vacations and see family members after skipping out in 2020, but they are also mindful of the omicron variant.

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