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Columbus Airport Sees Thanksgiving Rush Despite Lower Traffic

More travelers are expected at John Glenn International Airport this week than in recent months. The airport has social distancing precautions in place.
John Glenn International Airport
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More travelers are expected at John Glenn International Airport this week than in recent months. The airport has social distancing precautions in place.

Fewer people are traveling this year for Thanksgiving, but even with that reduction, there will still be thousands on the move in Central Ohio.

About a month ago, AAA projected 50 million Americans would travel for the holidays. That’s already 10% lower than last year, but with COVID-19 surging the group warns actual travel could be even lower than that prediction.

At Columbus’ John Glenn International Airport, traffic has been substantially lower than usual throughout the pandemic, but spokeswoman Sarah McQuaide says there’s been a noticeable uptick for the Thanksgiving holiday.

“We are seeing a spike and so our airports are really busy right now,” McQuaide says. “We’re seeing about 65,000 people departing CMH for Thanksgiving travel.”

While that mark is about 10% higher than recent months, it's still less than half the traffic they had last year. Still, McQuaide says the airport may look a bit more crowded than it actually is because of social distancing precautions.

“I think that’s one place where the airport is going to look at a lot different when we’re seeing these peaks in travel, because the lines might appear longer because of the distancing which is a good thing,” McQuaide says.

The governor and state health officials, not to mention the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have repeatedly urged people to stay home instead of traveling for the holidays.