What a difference one year makes. This time last year, most of us were still working from home, figuring out how to work TikTok, and canceling all of our vacation plans. Travel numbers at Yeager Airport were close to single digits, and no one was sure when or if this pandemic would come to an end.
How empty was CRW on Memorial Day Weekend 2020? Let’s look at the passenger numbers from 5-27 through 5-31 of last year.
- 5/27 – 80 passengers
- 5/28 – 90 passengers
- 5/29 – 96 passengers
- 5/30 – 95 passengers
- 5/31 – 83 passengers
To give you a reference point, CRW averaged between 700 and 800 daily passenger’s pre-pandemic. One (long) year and a whole lot of vaccinations later, and the numbers for MDW 2021 were a sight for sore eyes.
- 5/27 – 741 passengers
- 5/28 – 824 passengers
- 5/29 – 812 passengers
- 5/30 – 851 passengers
- 5/31 – 801 passengers
Travel Numbers are Coming Back
The passenger numbers from the holiday weekend align with what we have been seeing at CRW over the last few months. And we are expecting our passenger numbers to keep rising. Starting June 6th, American Airlines’ route from Charleston, WV to Philadelphia, PA, is returning. With that flight back in operation, all of the routes that were temporarily paused at CRW because of COVID-19 are back in operation.
Travel Numbers Bouncing Back Quicker Than Expected
There are many different answers to that question. At the beginning of the pandemic, experts predicted countries with large domestic markets would bounce back first, and the United States has one of the biggest domestic markets in the world.
Airports across the country, including CRW, have also spent tons of time and money ensuring passengers can travel safely. CRW installed UV-C filters, cleaned out every HVAC duct, had round-the-clock cleaning of high touch surfaces, just to name a few.
The heightened cleaning, along with masks and a quick vaccine rollout, has lead people back to the skies. And CRW is here for it!
Are COVID Measures Still in Place at CRW?
Although the federal mask mandate was eased, the mandate still states that face coverings must be worn in airports and airplanes. Our passengers at CRW have done an incredible job wearing masks throughout the pandemic, and for that, we thank you.
It has been a long road to get back to some normalcy. We are happy to see you and your families again at CRW. And if you are waiting for your flight and want to show us some of the TikTok dances you learned last year, we would love to see those too!
In the COVID-19 world we are all living in, the information does not change day-to-day, it changes hour-by-hour. With the sheer amount of new information, how do you know when it is the right time for you to start traveling again? The short answer is, it is entirely up to you and how comfortable you are with taking to the sky. If you are struggling with the decision, Yeager Airport is here to help! We are going to take our best shot at answering the question: “Is it Safe to Fly.” All of the information in this article comes from airline leaders, as well as frequent travelers.
So, is it safe to fly?
This is not a yes or no question. With all of the precautions and guidelines, airlines are taking, flying now is safer than you might think. Most commercial airplanes are equipped with High-Efficiency Particulate Air, HEPA for short, filters. They are similar to the HEPA filters found in hospitals. These filters capture more than 99-percent of airborne bacteria, and continuously recirculate clean air throughout the cabin.
In a recent interview on the Masters of Scale podcast, Delta CEO Ed Bastian talked about an air study recently done by Delta.
“I tasked our team to measure the air quality onboard our flights, and we’ve been traveling with sensors on a number of flights and that they’ve found is indeed the quality of the air you breathe aboard our planes is somewhere between 7 to 10 times cleaners than a baseline measure of the grocery store you shopped in yesterday.”
Pre-COVID-19, commercial airplanes were wiped down and cleaned after most flights. However, during COVID-19, planes are cleaned and disinfected after each trip. Making the surfaces as clean as they have ever been. Most airlines are even spraying specialized disinfectants on seats, armrests, air controls, and seat belts.
Brian Kelly, CEO, and founder of The Points Guy, is an avid traveler. Kelly’s company is all about traveling smart. In a recent article, Kelly had the following to say about the cleanliness of the plane he was on.
“Normally planes get turned around for a new flight every hour, and most fights get a very quick cleaning. You can feel the slime on the plane. This was different, it felt and looked spick and span.”
Airlines are encouraging check-in at kiosks and are letting you scan your own boarding pass at the gate. Materials in the seatbacks have been removed, and most airlines are not filling their planes to capacity. Inflight service has also changed to limit contact with flight attendants.
Then there are masks. As far as airports go, most are following local and state guidelines. However, airlines are requiring all passengers to wear masks while on the aircraft. The only exceptions for masks requirements are young children and people with conditions that make breathing through a mask difficult.
In reality, the only person who knows if it is safe for you to fly is you. Airport and airlines across the country are working around the clock to keep you safe. At Yeager Airport, we clean and sanitize pretty much everything you see. We want you to feel comfortable at the airport, and the airlines want you to feel safe flying with them.
Where are you going first? Maybe you’re ready to start crossing destinations off your bucket list, or perhaps you want to go somewhere just because you can. Either way, there are some things you need to consider first before you travel post COVID-19 quarantine. Whether you’re going domestic or international, different places have different restrictions and guidelines.
Are you planning to travel internationally?
Mexico: Popular tourist spots like Cancun, Los Cabos, and Cozumel all have slightly different plans to reopen. However, most places are planning to start opening in some capacity by the first and second week of June. Mexico is already planning a major campaign to get tourists back. Hotel capacity fell to as low as 2.8 percent in Cancun during the height of COVID-19. If you’re planning a trip to your favorite spot in Mexico, it’s best to look up what Mexican state the city is in and see what their plan is for reopening.
Canada: Want to go north of the border? Well, right now, you can’t. The United States and the Canadian border are going to remain closed until June 21st, at least. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says an additional 30-day extension is not out of the question.
Central America: The majority of counties in Central America are shut down to tourists to some extent. The only exception is Nicaragua, which never really shut down. Belize, a popular stop on cruises, is not allowing tourists until at least July 1st. Panama has taken one of the strictest stances out of any country in Central America. Panama citizens are still in quarantine, and the country’s leaders are working on the gradual lifting of restrictions. If you’re planning a trip to Central America this summer or fall, you need to do your research before booking any flights. Each country is doing things differently.
Aruba: It’s looking like July 1st is the day international travelers can head back to Aruba. The Aruba Tourism Authority is asking travelers to contact your hotel and airlines if you already have a trip booked. They are asking you to confirm your hotels are going to be open, and your airline is indeed flying to Aruba.
Bahamas: Each island has different restrictions and different reopening dates. If you’re planning a trip here, make sure you the island you’re going to is open and international travelers are allowed.
Dominican Republic: As of now, tourism is starting on July 1st. However, the countries leaders say that date could change.
These are just a few of the popular spots CRW passengers visit. For a complete list of countries around the world. Including Europe and Asia, check out this article by “The Points Guy.” The material is regularly updated as countries make changes to their guidelines.
Are you wondering about a flight to different states in the United States? Much like the international community, each state’s restrictions and guidelines are different. At CRW, we have flights that go to Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia, Illinois, and Florida. And starting later this summer, the seasonal flight to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Washington, D.C.: The nation’s capital started a four-phase reopening process on May 29th. In phase 1, gatherings of 10 or more are prohibited, and restaurants can only do outdoor dining. Outdoor memorials and spaces at the National Mall and memorial parks are open, except for the Washington Monument, Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument, Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site, and Old Post Office Tower Tour.
North Carolina: North Carolina is in phase 2 of their “Safer at Home” reopening plan. This phase runs through at least June 26th. The biggest question for North Carolina, are beaches open? Each beach is open to a different degree; most of the popular ones are open to some degree, though. Retail is open at 50 percent capacity, as are restaurants. Large venues, like sports stadiums, are open but with restrictions. Indoor music venues, bars, bowling alleys, etc. are still closed.
Georgia: Most businesses in Georgia are open with restrictions.
Illinois: Illinois has a five-phased reopening plan. It splits the state into four regions that can move through the five phases at different times. However, all four areas are in phase three right now. In phase three, bars and restaurants are open for delivery, pickup, and drive through only. Retail stores are open, but with capacity limits. State parks are open. Activities with ten or fewer people are permitted.
Florida: Florida has a four-phase plan to reopen. The state is currently in phase two. Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure, and the Volcano Bay water park are planning to open on June 5th. SeaWorld Orlando is preparing a June 10th reopening, and Walt Disney World theme parks are planning to reopen on July 11th. When these parks open, capacity is going to be limited; guests will have to wear masks and get their temperature taken upon arrival. Bars and restaurants across much of Florida are opening on June 5th. This does not include Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties. Restaurants and bars are going to operate at 50 percent capacity. Entertainment venues like movie theaters, concert houses, bowling alleys, and arcades are also opening at 50 percent capacity on June 5th.
South Carolina: South Carolina’s stay-at-home order expired on May 4th. Beaches, restaurants, bars, and retail stores are open. Some of these businesses have their own guidelines.
If we did not cover your final destination, here is a complete list of all the state’s restrictions and guidelines!