Charleston International Airport officials and doctors in Lowcountry give pre-vacation advice


NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCBD) – Christmas Eve is known as one of the busiest travel days of the year. Airport officials say it could be a record-breaking holiday season for travelers passing through airports, even as the number of new COVID-19 cases is on the rise with the Omicron variant.

Millions of Americans are flying away to reach their Christmas destination this year, some for the first time since the start of the pandemic. Travelers say they’re just happy to be back in action.

“Great,” says Jack Goldburg, who is heading to Florida for Christmas. “I feel good, healthy – I think things look pretty crowded, not too bad actually.”

Most go home for the holidays to spend Christmas and New Years with family and friends.

“Get tested, know you’re negative, wear your mask,” Goldburg explains. “If you have symptoms you know you have to stay home. But fear not, if you are feeling well, you should be fine.

With air travel set to triple from the same time last year, officials at Charleston International Airport are urging passengers to be patient.

“Be patient with our people,” says Elliott Summey, Managing Director of Charleston International. “This time of year our TSA agents and our people are getting burned out.”

Passengers anticipate delays while making sure to double-check the necessary things list. At Charleston International, boarding passes and masks are top of the list.

“Travel can be stressful, you know you remember your luggage, your boarding pass, your kids and if you forget your mask we’ll give you one,” Summey said.

The number of passengers from TSA check-in is expected to vary until Christmas Day, but one thing that won’t be for passengers is the need to check for COVID-19 symptoms and wear a mask. Lowcountry medics urge passengers to be cautious.

“Cover your nose when you sneeze, if you are trying to avoid being around sick people and washing your hands,” says Dr. David Crook, a doctor at Trident Medical Center.

Millions of people have already started traveling to their destinations and with the number of COVID-19 cases rising, Dr Crook recommends being vigilant before and after returning from your trip.

“It is recommended that you take a COVID-19 test, especially when you return and not pass it on to your colleagues or students,” says Dr. Crook.

The excitement of celebrating the holidays is felt by many people who may be returning to their families for the first time in two years while still being cautious about staying healthy.

“Just follow the rules and do what you have to do,” says Linda, a traveler visiting Charleston International.

“Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year everyone,” says Goldburg.

Airport officials warn that parking at Charleston International is limited at this point. They say if you are still planning on taking a plane for Christmas, if possible find a ride to the airport. If you plan to take Christmas presents on your trip, authorities are reminding passengers to make sure they are not wrapped.


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