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Travel Numbers Surge, Leading To Long Airport Wait Times

As vaccination rates climb and restrictions fall, people are making reservations with a look toward travel, but they are now facing long lines at the airport, according to AP News on Friday (May 28).

Alejandro Mayorkas, secretary of U.S. Homeland Security, said that people who are heading out for Memorial Day weekend should consider the long lines at airports that will likely be ahead of them.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has been hiring more personnel ahead of the anticipated surge in weekend travel this weekend, but “people will see lines. Patience is required,” Mayorkas said. Masks he added, are required in airports and on flights.

“The mask mandate is a federal mandate in airports and on airplanes,” he said. “That’s going to hold true probably until mid-September.”

Domestic leisure travel is at pre-pandemic levels, airlines told AP, and it is anticipated that more than 2 million people will hit U.S. airports before the week of Memorial Day is over.

U.S. travelers are already hitting the roads at the start of the holiday weekend in numbers, despite higher plane fare and hotel prices as well as a surge in the cost of gas.

This Memorial Day holiday weekend comes as many states drop mask requirements for people who are vaccinated and curtail most restrictions and social distancing mandates. These new freedoms coincide with the decline in COVID-19 infections, hospitalization rates, and deaths from the virus.

PYMNTS most recent Payments Innovation Readiness Playbook showed that many hospitality firms lost some 70 percent of bookings. Airbnb, however, found a way to adapt to the changing landscape that commingled work life and leisure.

Spreedly CEO Justin Benson told PYMNTS Karen Webster that most operators are preparing for an acceleration, but Europe, Latin America and India are seeing new COVID-19 variants, which has made recovery for travel uneven.

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