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

Home for the Holidays

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — The holiday travel season remains in full swing as many travelers make their way back home after a weekend of Christmas and Kwanzaa celebrations.

AAA projected 2.9 million Virginians will travel between Thursday, Dec. 23 and Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022 in honor of the holidays.

That marks a 32 percent jump compared to the 2020 holiday season, but still down 10 percent from before the pandemic in 2019.

For the most part, those journeys are going to be made by car. More specifically, AAA expects 90 percent of Virginian travelers will be driving this year.

Although air travel makes up a much smaller portion of trips, it’s still expected to spike by 178 percent compared to 2020 — which is still 14 percent lower than in 2019.

Adam Pettus, who flew into Richmond International Airport on Monday, Dec. 27, says he noticed a difference.

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

The Richmond airport says 11 flights were canceled from Christmas Eve to Monday.

According to Troy Bell with the Richmond International Airport, there were 448 scheduled flights over the holiday weekend, which means the cancellation rate was less than 3 percent.

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

Pettus says he wasn’t directly affected by cancellations, but he did have 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 says Americans want to go on vacations and see family members after skipping out in 2020, but they are also mindful of the omicron variant.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Latest News

More News

News Tip Form