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KCI, airlines prepare for nearly pre-pandemic travel levels

thanksgiving travel
Posted at 6:47 PM, Nov 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-22 19:47:40-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City International Airport is expecting more than 300,000 travelers this Thanksgiving travel period.

Airport officials said holiday travel is at about 85% of its pre-pandemic levels and is about 40% more traffic than Thanksgiving 2020.

Donise Mitchell, general manager for United Airlines Kansas City, said the airline's flight schedule is back to about 88% of pre-pandemic levels.

"We were at about 26 flights a day pre-pandemic, we got down as low as three a day, so to be back to 20 flights a day is super exciting because that’s what we do, we do travel and to have our customers back is exciting," Mitchell said.

Mitchell said the airline is not experiencing staffing shortages so passengers should not be concerned about delayed or canceled flights for that reason.

"We looked at this over the last year and United was very proactive and negotiated with our flight crews to keep everybody current," Mitchell said. "So as we built back into the schedule, our crews were available to fly those extra flights, so we aren’t seeing those staffing issues."

Mitchell is encouraging travelers to give themselves plenty of extra time and to download the United app to stay up to date on what destinations required a COVID-19 test.

For travelers like Kevin and Jackie Coggins, this Thanksgiving will be much different than last year.

"We had Thanksgiving at home by ourselves last year so this is a much better situation to be able to come back and spend it with family and friends," Kevin Coggins said.

The Coggins said they feel safe to travel and be around family due to being fully vaccinated and having received boosters.

For Quincy Chop and her family, it's their first time traveling internationally since the pandemic. The family is headed to France to see family for the holiday.

"We are all vaccinated and we all wear masks and we all hand sanitize and wash our hands, so I think we all feel pretty safe about that type of thing," Chop said.

Airport officials are encouraging travelers to arrive at least two hours before their departing flight. Masks are still federally required in the airport terminals and on transportation and aircraft.