Health pandemic takes a chunk out of typically busiest travel day

DFW Airport and Love Field both report far fewer travelers this holiday week than in years' past.

But DFW also says it still expects more than a million people to pass through the airport for the Thanksgiving travel period.

Wednesday is typically one of the busiest travel days of the year. Similar to what we’re seeing nationwide, both Love Field and DFW Airport saw significantly fewer travelers this Thanksgiving travel season.

It’s not quite the same hustle and bustle you might normally expect to see at the airport on one of the typically busiest travel days of the year.

With the CDC recommending people postpone Thanksgiving travel and stay home, many may have opted to follow that advice.

My siblings decided not to come at all. I just decided to come here,” said Kemnede Onwudegu, who is traveling for Thanksgiving.

According to flight data and analytics from OAG, DFW Airport was among the 10 busiest airports in the United States on Wednesday. But travel through DFW Airport and Love Field is still down significantly.

DFW expects about 1.3 million travelers for the Thanksgiving travel season, which is down 65% from last year.

Love Field would typically see 20,000 travelers flying out the day before Thanksgiving. This year, they saw just 8,000.

“I feel like people aren’t really honoring the 6-feet space we’re supposed to give to each other,” Onwudegu said.

But those who did choose to fly felt safe enough to do so.

“I’m not worried about it. I work in the schools. We’re all fine,” said traveler Jennifer Sayles. “If we’ve had it, we’ve survived it. Some people will have it worse than others, that’s true. But that’s with everything else.”

“I felt safe traveling. I felt like they took proper precautions,” said traveler Shondell Chennette. “I saw them with gloves on, wiping things down, all of the passengers seemed to be very aware. Social distancing on the plane so I felt comfortable.”

And though Thanksgiving celebrations may look different this year, some are still finding ways to be together.

“I decided I wanted to see my family and that was more important to me,” Chennette said. “And I think the world in general is a lot more aware because of COVID.”

Many of those traveling say Thanksgiving will be a little different this year with much smaller celebrations limited to just immediate family.