SAN DIEGO – Packing a bag to fly in or out of San Diego this week? You’re not the only one.
As many as 1 million travelers are expected to pass through the San Diego International Airport between Dec. 17 and Jan. 3, airport spokeswoman Nicole Hall said Tuesday. The airport has seen a 25% increase in passenger volume this year compared to last year, according to Hall, but still has not returned to pre-pandemic levels in terms of overall passenger volume compared to 2019.
On Tuesday, the airport released a series of travel tips for those using the facility this holiday season.
Under a federal mandate, masks are required to be worn on airport property and on airplanes. Masks are sold at the airport while complimentary masks are available to travelers at airport information desks. Travelers also are recommended to take preventative health measures, such as washing hands, distancing and monitoring daily health with a temperature check prior to arrival.
All Transportation Security Administration checkpoints remain open. Also open are shops, restaurants and dining facilities, though the airport recommends social distancing in these settings.
This holiday season comes as the omicron COVID-19 variant is sweeping the country, accounting for 73% of new infections last week, federal health officials said Monday.
But even with surging case numbers, it’s still expected to be a busy travel time.
The Automobile Club of Southern California forecasts that nearly 9 million people are expected to travel more than 50 miles from home between Thursday and Jan. 2. Most are expected to drive, but some 800,000 people will fly while another 200,000 will travel by train, bus or cruise ship, the forecast shows.
It’s not yet clear how the recent case surge will play into the season’s numbers as the forecast as it was prepared the week of Nov. 15, spokesman Doug Shupe said Monday.
Gathering at the airport Tuesday were two U.S. Marines who told FOX 5 they were traveling back home to Texas to celebrate the holiday.
“We just got done with training up here at Camp Pendleton,” Julian Gueroa said. “We just got done with training and now we’re going back home to see our families for Christmas.”