SEATAC, Wash. - From the looks and sounds of it on Tuesday, there is nothing normal about airport travel at SeaTac ahead of Thanksgiving.
“I didn’t have to sit next to anyone on my plane,” Parker Sodon said.
Sodon is a college student arriving from Gonzaga while Jill Ladegard and her dog Lucy were passing through Seattle on their way to Alaska.
The CDC is urging people not to travel this Thanksgiving as COVID cases surge and governors across the nation are asking people to celebrate only within their immediate households.
“We made plans before COVID started getting worse and just felt like protocols in place, the masks, the hand washing, the social distancing was pretty good,” Ladegard said.
Despite the recommendations not to travel, Ladegard said she didn't feel anxiety over traveling this week. She says she spoke with her family and they came to the decions to continue with their plans. She says she's taken the virus seriously and believes her measures will make a difference.
Meanwhile Sodon says he was extremely careful about social interactions ahead of his visit home.
“I obviously worry about taking it to others but I haven’t left my house other than groceries since the beginning of school so I’ve been making sure I’m personally doing the best I can,” Sodon said.
Overall 58,000 passengers were expected to pass through SeaTac airport on Tuesday.
Same time last year there were 143,000 passengers.
Wednesday is the busiest travel day ahead of Thanksgiving. SeaTac airport is expecting around 61,000 passengers to pass through. In comparison, last year around 160,000 passengers went through.
So this year COVID concerns are keeping people away during a time known to be one of the busiest travel periods.
“I feel pretty strongly that the best way for me to celebrate thanksgiving this year is to do it on a screen with my loved ones,” Rick Steves said.
Steves is well known for books encouraging people to explore and travel but his message at this moment is for people to hold off.
“I know it’s disappointing to a lot of people but I am dying to see my daughter but I’m not dying to see her,” Steves said.
With more than a quarter of a million Americans losing their lives to COVID and not coming to the table this year, Steves says keeping healthy is the best thing we can do for our loved ones right now.
“As a community we need to take a pause, take a break and stay healthy,” Steves said.
Steves, who resides in Western Washington, says there are still many things we can be thankful for, his goal is to focus on that. When Thanksgiving 2020 is in the rearview mirror, Steves says Thanksgiving 2021’s celebration will happen with a lot of gusto.