Navigating holiday travel with delays, omicron variant

Published: December 17, 2021 5:44 PM EST
Updated: December 17, 2021 7:48 PM EST

People are already arriving at Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) as staff warns that it will only get busier after the weekend.

When you see line lanes out into the concourse at RSW, you know that holiday travel season is upon us. And it’s only a matter of time before those lanes are filled with people.

The airport expects a record number of travelers between now and New Year’s Day. Travelers say they’re glad they beat the crowds because the holiday hustle and bustle is just getting started.

People are heading to see loved ones or, much like Sandi Hamann, welcome loved ones home with a bit of Christmas cheer.

“I’m just so happy, happy that they are here and excited for them to be home for Christmas, and so I just think it’s cheerful and happy and it’s fun!” said Hamann.

But, there’s still worry over the newly emerged omicron variant in the midst of the holiday.

“We took the test, and you know being careful with the mask and just trying to stay apart from everyone,” said Samantha Hamann, who just am from Boston.

Michele Vogel is flying from RSW to Charlotte. “I do have my vaccines, and my booster and all my shots. And I am praying that everyone is complying, just it’s a scary time,” said Vogel.

This is a difficult time for Dan and Renee Reymond. They’re afraid they’ll get sick but more afraid of getting locked out of the country in the 10 days they’ll be home in Canada. “We will be watching out for it, and if there’s any hint that the border or something is closing, then we are going to rush right back,” Dan said.

Although the omicron variant is spreading quickly in other places, Sandi Hamann hopes that won’t stop people from reuniting with their loved ones. “I hope that all families can get together because, you know, it’s especially special over the holidays,” she said.

Parking at the airport will soon become an issue as well. So, be sure to check the airport’s website and social media page for updates on the availability. The best advice the airport says is to find a ride, instead of driving yourself.