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Officials encourage travelers to use extra caution ahead of busy holiday

Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 11:20 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Airport officials and the North Carolina State Highway Patrol (NCSHP) expect to see travel numbers similar to pre-pandemic on both runways and roadways over the holidays.

“Due to the decrease in COVID and not wearing a mask, people will be able to travel to their destinations, to family members and be able to see those folks. Whereas, compared to last year, they stayed at home,” said Trooper John M. King, a Traffic Safety Instructor with the NCSHP.

Thanksgiving week is historically the busiest travel week of the year with Wednesday and Sunday being the biggest two days. Many travelers are already making their way home for the holidays.

“Each airplane was completely full. There were no empty seats,” said airline passenger Sam Armitege.

Armitege traveled to New York to see family — a long-awaited trip, since he was unable to go last year.

“This was my first time seeing my family in a year and a half; It was absolutely welcomed. And this is what I think everyone is feeling,” said Armitege. “I sat next to lovely people on the airplanes and we all chatted, and we are all just ready to get on with our lives.”

The interim airport director of the Wilmington International Airport, Gary Broughton, told WECT that they are expecting to see over ten thousand passengers come through this holiday week. He also encourages anyone traveling through ILM to arrive at least two hours before their flight because of holiday traffic.

Whether you’re traveling in the air or on the road, officials are asking travelers to be extra careful heading to their destination.

“Being aware of your surroundings, driving defensively. Put down electronic devices. We want you to have a good time. We want it to be a memorable holiday season, but we want it to be memorable in the right way,” said Trooper King.

Travelers are excited and hope that everyone can have a safe and memorable holiday season.

“Get out there, do it, go see your loved ones. Spend time. This is how we live,” said Armitege.

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