KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It's a different atmosphere inside the Kansas City International Airport as the post-holiday rush isn't as busy as years past.
However, despite recommendations from health experts to stay home, many people still wanted to travel to see family during the coronavirus pandemic.
"It was good to finally see family after not being able to see them for a while," said Patrick Timons, who visited family in Lawrence.
Samantha Cooley returned home Sunday after visiting family in New Jersey.
"It’s been a long time, and the holidays really wouldn’t have felt the same without it," Cooley said.
The Kansas City Aviation Department estimated that roughly 180,000 passengers will travel in and out of KCI during the 12-day Thanksgiving season, which is a 55% decrease from last year.
Travelers 41 Action News spoke with said they felt safe flying to see their loved ones, but took precautions.
"I got my COVID-19 test and everybody took their test so we make sure we are healthy and doing the right thing," said Trenton Utley, who was visiting family in Kansas City, "but you know can’t stop us from hanging out. We’re going to link up somehow."
With all the passengers coming home, health experts warn of an upcoming surge of COVID-19 cases and advise travelers to be careful and even quarantine for several days to mitigate the spread of the virus.
"Thanksgiving and then the December holidays are much more likely to involve older folks who are much more vulnerable," said Dr. Lee Norman, Secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. "So I wouldn’t be surprised to see Halloween on steroids, with two or three times the number of cases coming from that."
To help prevent the virus from taking off during the holiday season, some travelers told 41 Action News they will be extra cautious now that they've returned home.
"I'm going to monitor my symptoms, but if I feel sick I won’t go into work or anything," Timons said.
Utley said he will take a "follow-up" COVID-19 test to be on the safe side.
"I feel pretty confident of the quarantine I’ve been doing," Utley said.
Cooley said the rest of school semester for her will be remote, which gives her the "luxury" to be able to quarantine for two weeks.