More Than 670K NYers Flying for Thanksgiving Despite COVID-19 Risk

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Despite record levels of COVID-19 in a new wave of cases, and multiple warnings from local and federal officials, plenty of New Yorkers are still heading to the airports for the Thanksgiving break. Photo Credit: AP

By Ilana Siyance

The Coronavirus has thwarted many plans and traditions across the country, but Thanksgiving may be untouchable.  Despite record levels of COVID-19 in a new wave of cases, and multiple warnings from local and federal officials, plenty of New Yorkers are still heading to the airports for the Thanksgiving break.

As reported by the NY Post, more than 670,000 travelers still plan to fly out of New York City airports for the upcoming holiday.  Roughly 275,300 passengers are expected to fly out of JFK, with another 271,700 passengers booked on flights out of Newark, and 127,100 travelers expected to be flying out of LaGuardia Airport, as per airline ticket-sale data obtained by The Post from aviation analytics firm OAG. The data is for travel between Nov. 23 and 29, as of Thursday for NY’s three major airports, along with Stewart in Orange County.  Of course the numbers are still substantially lower than last year’s Thanksgiving week, when 1.5 million passengers took to the skies.  That indicates a 55 percent decline.

To break it down, by last year’s most popular Thanksgiving destinations–travelers booked 52 percent less visits to Los Angeles; Travel bookings to London are down roughly  77 percent; Chicago is getting 66 percent less air travelers; Charlotte, NC bookings are down 60 percent; and San Francisco itineraries have declined 59 percent.  This year the most popular airfare ticket for New Yorkers is Orlando, with an estimated 42,100 bookings.  Another top hot spot this year is Ft Lauderdale, with roughly 38,400 air passengers.  Other leading destinations include Atlanta with roughly 33,200 bookings; Los Angeles with 27,700 travelers; and Miami with 25,000 holidaymakers.

Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic is an unexpected winner, with 800 more NYC tourists compared to last year.  Also Cancun, Mexico has 2,200 more incoming fliers expected. Bookings to Key West, Myrtle Beach and Nantucket are also up, as per the OAG data.

It can reasonably be inferred that many more travelers will opt to take road trips rather than flights.   Still, an impressive 74 percent of people surveyed said they will stay home for the holiday, as per a new Monmouth University poll. Just 25 percent plan to travel, and just 10 percent said they will stay overnight.

On Thursday, the CDC warned “against travel during the Thanksgiving period.”  “The tragedy that could happen is that one of your family members, from coming together in this family gathering actually could end up being hospitalized and severely ill and die,” said the agency’s COVID-19 incident manager, Dr. Henry Walke.