OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The holiday season is always a busy time for the airline industry and while the pandemic has slowed down travel quite a bit throughout the year — airlines are still expecting to see an increase in passengers this week.
Last year, around 235,000 passengers came through the Omaha airport during the holiday season which lasts from Dec. 18 through Jan. 3. This year, many people are staying home for the holidays, but Eppley Airfield is still expecting to see a boom in passengers. They say they've seen the numbers jump from about 3,000 passengers coming through per day to about 4,000 in recent weeks.
This summer, the Omaha Airport Authority implemented their Travel Safe OMA program, something that will come in handy in the coming days.
“That includes increased cleaning at common touch points, use of hand sanitizer stations, promotion of social distancing," said Steve McCoy, Director Service & Business Development at the Omaha Airport Authority. "Promotion of things like touchless technology, such as touchless payments and touchless mobile boarding passes as well.”
McCoy says things shouldn’t be too different compared for holiday travelers.
"I think, for most folks, it's going to be a very comparable experience to what they're used to out in the community in terms of some of the health and safety precautions,” said Steve McCoy of the Omaha Airport Authority. “As far as the experience here at the airport, or what they can expect, it's going to be very similar to what they typically would expect at an airport."
As always, McCoy says passengers should arrive with enough time to park, check in and go through security. Another thing to keep in mind, is that bringing wrapped presents is not recommended since security may need to see what’s inside.
McCoy also says travelers should keep in mind that winter weather could affect travel times this week.
The CDC says staying home is the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but they know people will still be going home for the holidays. Along with all the precautions they've been recommending this year — like social distancing and wearing a mask — they also recommend getting tested one to three days before travel.