FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Despite warnings from health officials asking Americans to avoid traveling during the coronavirus pandemic, it was a busy Thursday night before Christmas Day at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
There were last-minute travelers filling the Spirit Airlines terminal. Most air travelers said they are aware of the risks during the pandemic, but the need to be with their families over the holidays outweighs the fear.
The gravity of the coronavirus pandemic prompted a father to travel with his children to see his mother after she said she was missing her grandchildren. For Nahomie Henrie, it was a must to brave the COVID-19 risk and be there to support her family.
“My husband’s sister, she just had surgery so we had to go see her,” said Henrie, who was flying to Texas.
Although it is the busiest travel day since March, officials at both FLL and Miami International Airport said roughly half the number of people are passing through this year compared to last year’s Christmas Eve. Some travelers included coronavirus testing as part of their new travel plans.
Matt Cieson flew from London out of Heathrow Airport in London, where evidence of a new strain of the coronavirus that appears to be more contagious prompted a lockdown. He was passing through FLL to get to Alabama.
“I was 100% expecting flights to be completely booked ... but I can say that on my flight from Heathrow, I would say it was about 25% capacity,” Cieson said.