120,000 expected through RDU this weekend as many feel safer with COVID vaccines, protocols

Wake County News

MORRISVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — Around 120,000 people are expected to fly through the Raleigh-Durham International Airport this weekend.

If you’re one of them, you should head out to the airport early.

CBS 17 crews were at the airport before 5 a.m. on Friday, and lines were already building up. By 6 a.m., the TSA line was wrapped around the check-in counters in Terminal 2.

The reasons vary for why 34,000 people are expected to travel through RDU today.

“I’m leaving, I’m going to St. Lucia,” said Anitra Henry McKoy.

“I’m en-route to Boise, Idaho. I’m visiting family,” said Megan Porter.

“I’m going up to New York City for the Electric Zoo Music Festival. It’s going to be a fun time,” said Bradley Barbee. “A lot of people I know are traveling. It’s been a while since they’ve taken a vacation or have gotten out of town. I think a lot of people are not too worried about the virus anymore, with the vaccines and people getting them. I think people are ready to travel again.”

Lines stacked up in the early morning hours as some people took their chances to get out of town for the first time in over a year.

“It’s my first time on a plane since the pandemic,” added Barbee.

Many travelers feel a new sense of security, outside of the TSA lines.

“Traveling vaccinated is a different level of confidence for me and my friends,” said McKoy.

In a recent survey done by RDU officials, 90-percent of people reported being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and 78% of people reported that they are more willing to travel now, despite the delta variant.

“I am vaccinated. I’ve been vaccinated since April and the recent increase in vaccination rates, despite hospital rates, does make me feel a little better,” said Porter.

Travelers told CBS 17 they’re still planning on doing everything they can to stay safe.

“People are traveling safely. My [friends] and I are going to be very safe,” added McKoy. “We’ve got masks, hand sanitizer, you name it. [Face] shields.”

“Just to sit there and have the mask on… it’s not a big deal. It’s just.. you have a mask on,” said Joshua Peace, who was traveling with his dad from Las Vegas.

“Is it worth it so you can travel?” asked CBS 17’s Hayley Fixler.

“Yes,” Peace said simply.

There is still a mask mandate for both inside the airport and on planes.

Hand sanitizer stations are also located throughout the airport. Airport officials said strict cleaning protocols are still in place as well.

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