Holiday travel in East Texas nearly back to pre-COVID levels

Holiday travel in East Texas nearly back to pre-COVID levels
Published: Nov. 23, 2022 at 2:48 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 23, 2022 at 5:55 PM CST
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LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - This holiday season, many are heading to see families by land or by air.

With gas prices below three dollars in many places, people are hitting the road. like Tarsha Smith and her family who are traveling from Dallas to Baton Rouge for Thanksgiving.

“It’s okay for those who want to take precautions. To each his own, but I’m okay. I’m not afraid of it,” Smith said.

And judging from I-20 traffic, neither are many others. East Texas Regional Airport Director Roy Miller says ridership is up.

“We’ve seen a lot of the traffic come back to pre-COVID levels. We have three flights, the overnight flight, it leaves every morning full, and the evening flights are doing good,” Miller said.

He says he’s been hearing that flying this holiday season will rise but:

“I personally believe most of that’s at the hubs; the Dallases, the Atlantas, the Chicagos,” Miller said.

And that’s what Sharon Thomas used coming from San Diego to Dallas.

“We’re trying to get back to our loved ones. We’re trying to get to a level of normalcy. Because it’s been tight, you know. When you can’t leave, when you’re literally told you can’t leave, that’s when people say I’m going to do it anyway, right?” Thomas said.

Tyler Public Information Officer Payton Weidman says at Tyler Pounds Field Airport many passengers arrived last week but in the past:

“The biggest days for traveling are usually the Wednesday before, which is today, and then the Sunday after Thanksgiving leaving. So, we’re expecting to see another crowd this weekend heading back to their homes,” Weidman said.

Travelers I spoke with say they are proceeding with caution but want to get back to what feels like the good old days.

East Texas Regional Airport Director Roy Miller says airline ticket deals are hard to find right now. But, if you can handle it, it can be cheaper to fly on the actual holiday itself since commercial aircraft tend to have open seats.