PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The travel rush is officially on at Philadelphia International Airport. The holiday travel season officially kicked off Wednesday and more than 925,000 passengers are expected to pass through PHL over the next two weeks.
First and foremost, travelers must wear a mask while in the airport and aboard their flight. This holiday travel season comes amid another COVID-19 surge, but still, people Eyewitness News spoke with say they had to make the trip home.READ MORE: Philadelphia Police Officer Has Strong Message For Son's Killers After Hyram Hill Killed In Targeted Shooting
“I get to go home, I get to go home, I get to go home,” said Rosetta Campbell, who’s traveling to Jackson, Mississippi. “I’m pretty excited to do that.”
Nothing was stopping Campbell and her dog Winnie from making the four-hour flight from Philadelphia to Mississippi. She took her last final Tuesday and boarded her flight Wednesday.
“I know that COVID-19 is on the rise,” she said, “but I wanted to see my family. But I want to try to be safe while I do it.”
This holiday travel season comes as COVID-19 cases skyrocket, fueled by the omicron variant.
Dominic Parolin, who is traveling to Vancouver, says it factored into his decision to see family.
“I’m feeling more comfortable than I would’ve been earlier, but obviously, omicron is a little disturbing too,” Parolin said.READ MORE: Manor College Students Past, Present 'Very Angry And Frustrated' About Ukraine-Russia Tensions
The TSA estimates that they’ll check about 30 million people between now and Jan. 3.
Officials at Philadelphia International Airport expect some 925,000 people to pass through the airport this holiday season. That number is down from 2019 but nearly 60% higher than last year when people stayed home due to the pandemic.
“I’m doing what I can to manage my risk,” Emma Dowdy, who’s heading to Vancouver, said. “And I hope others are doing what they can to manage their risk. At the end of the day, I’m flying home to see my family.”
While COVID-19 may be a headache, TSA officials say air travel doesn’t have to be — if you follow the rules.
Officials are urging travelers to arrive two hours before a domestic flight and three hours before an international flight. That will also give them time to park because the economy lot at Philadelphia International is shutdown. If you pack a gift make sure it’s not wrapped because if it triggers an alarm, your gift will be unwrapped.
“You know what, we don’t want to be the Grinch opening the gift,” Lisa Farbstein with the TSA said. “We just want to make sure that everything that goes through the checkpoint is allowed and is not prohibited or illegal.”MORE NEWS: Philadelphia Police Officer Injured After Being Dragged By Vehicle During Traffic Stop: Police
You may want to check with your airline and also your destination city, particularly if you’re traveling internationally, because they may have some rules on testing. You may get tested at the airport, but it does cost $250 and is not covered by insurance.