Busy post-Christmas travel at Southwest Florida International Airport

Sunday is one of the busiest travel days since the pandemic began, as hundreds of thousands of people return from their Christmas vacations.

But many say that traveling for the holidays meant even more after not seeing their loved ones for months.

Lisa Liceaga and her husband weren’t looking forward to a lonely white Christmas. So, they came from Cleveland to Southwest Florida.

“We really wanted to be with the family this holiday even though there’s all this craziness going on. I just had to see my family, it’s been a long time since we’ve seen them,” Liceaga said.

TSA says this time a year ago there were double the amount of people coming in and out of the airport. But they also say this has been the biggest weekend since the pandemic began.

Travelers say time with their families was important. Robert Delker is from Pennsylvania.

“I think it was very important. Being contained for a very long period of time definitely put a toll on you and seeing loved ones that you probably haven’t seen in a long time it enlightens you and gives you a little bit more push to get to the finish line,” Delker said.

Delker is a frequent traveler and says he did notice the difference in people flying this weekend compared to the past few months. The lines were moving quickly.

He flew down to spend the weekend with his loved ones. “The older you get every time you get to spend with your family is very important. So for me it was a good time to just be with my family,” Delker said.

Despite CDC recommendations telling Americans to limit travel, both Delker and Liceaga say they felt safe traveling and would definitely do it again for the sake of seeing their families.

“It meant the world. We would have been so sad sitting in our house alone in Cleveland over the holidays. Coming here really revitalized us, we’re so happy to be here,” Liceaga said.

The official holiday travel numbers for RSW will be available on Monday, January 4.

Reporter:Andrea Guerrero
Writer:Drew Hill
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