EUGENE, Ore. — The Sunday before the first work week of the new year is traditionally one of the busiest travel days of the year and even with the pandemic, thousands still hopped on planes, trains and automobiles this holiday season.
According to the TSA, about 14 million people traveled though America’s airports since Dec. 18. This is the largest volume of people getting on airplanes since the pandemic started. On Sunday over one million people were expected to be screened at TSA checkpoints.
Officials with Eugene Airport said over the two week holiday period, the airport was at 42% capacity. Even though during a normal year this number is doubled, officials said they have been seeing around the same numbers for weeks.
So, the rush of holiday travelers isn’t surprising to the airport. Andrew Martz, acting assistant director of the Eugene Airport, said staff have been focusing on keeping the airport as clean as possible so travelers feel safe going through the terminal.
“Anyone who has traveled through the Eugene Airport knows it has always been a clean airport,” Martz said. “If you've had the opportunity to travel to other airports around the country, Eugene has always been clean, but with the pandemic, we've stepped up even further.”
The Eugene Airport received a star certification from the Global Biorisk Advisory Council for their cleanliness earlier last year.
Tricia Young is traveling back to the University of Oregon from San Francisco. She said she felt safe on airplanes and in Eugene’s Airport. However, she said she felt nervous about the amount of people walking around San Francisco’s larger terminals.
“The only reason why I flew is because it's a 10 hour drive up here and it's a lot easier for me,” Young said “There's a lot of people in the same situation. It's mind blowing there's still this many people flying in the middle of a pandemic.”