Burlington airport sees fewer travelers this Thanksgiving

Published: Nov. 25, 2020 at 8:19 AM EST|Updated: Nov. 25, 2020 at 9:44 AM EST
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SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Despite travel warnings, up to 48 million people are expected to hit the roads to get to their Thanksgiving destinations and millions are traveling by air. Flying numbers soared this past Sunday nationally, with more people taking a flight than any other day since mid-March. But here in Vermont, we are still on the low end of travel.

According to the TSA, over 1 million Americans flew last Sunday. Vermont numbers, though, are low. Gene Richards, the director of aviation at Burlington’s airport, says they typically see around 11,000 travelers for Thanksgiving, but they are estimating 3,000 for this year -- 30% of a traditional year. It’s decrease compared to years past, but it’s not something unexpected.

“We expect it will be just like the last few days, we are not going to probably get a big spike. Many people, the students, have already left and that’s a big surge here. Then the rest of the people are the people that are coming and going and the governor has asked that people don’t come in from out or go out and I’m hoping that people are listening to him,” said Richards.

Richards also says Burlington International is encouraging whether you are coming to Vermont or leaving to follow state guidelines and follow the quarantine.

Jaime Potter, a University of Vermont student we talked with Wednesday morning, was flying to California for Thanksgiving and has planned time off work to make sure he can follow the guidance.

“I’m just hoping people are staying safe and following guidelines to hopefully minimize the spread that comes from traveling. When I come back, I’m just going to try and limit my contact with other people until I get home and when I get home, I’m going to stay two weeks or whatever the guideline is at that point. After that, I’ll judge based on how I’m feeling,” he said.

And for Mary Kueser, another UVM student headed home to Virginia for Thanksgiving, she says fewer non-essential travelers is a welcome sight.

“It’s a little scary, but I am glad to see everyone taking precautions. I only just got here this morning, but it is nice to see there are not a ton of people around. It’s easy to social distance, everyone has their masks on, so it’s scary but given the circumstances, I feel better than probably some people especially people in bigger towns,” she said.

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