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Travelers take to the skies for one of the busiest travel weekends of the year

TSA officials say more than one million people hit the skies Saturday, compared to more than 2.4 million the same time in 2019.

Dozens of cars lined up outside Minneapolis--Saint Paul International Airport, with people unloading suitcases and baggage, for one of the busiest travel weekends of the year. 

“I haven’t been traveling or on a plane since early March, so it was a new experience by all means," said traveler Liz Mentusa.

Mentusa is traveling back home to Minnesota after spending the weekend with friends in North Carolina. 

“I flew out on Friday morning and it was actually busier than I anticipated, it was still only a 15-minute line to get through security which was not bad,” she said.

Saturday alone, TSA officials say more than 1,073,563 people passed through airports across the country for the last weekend before the Christmas holiday, compared to more than 2,487,987 during the same time in 2019. 

A spokesperson with MSP says they’re anticipating more travelers for the Christmas and New Year’s Day holiday over Thanksgiving, with this upcoming Wednesday expected to be one of the busiest travel days at the airport.

Meanwhile, health officials are urging people to travel only when necessary. According to Minnesota Department of Health data, at least
24,238 people in the state likely caught COVID-19 due to travel as of Dec. 20. 

As for national guidance, the CDC warns that travel increases your risk of getting or spreading COVID-19. For people who will be traveling, it lists ways to know -- and sometimes decrease -- your risks. 

“The best advice is don’t, but if you’re like me, sometimes you have to,” said Sam Richman, who is traveling from NYC.