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Passengers flying back to Richmond see smooth landing after travel numbers return to pre-pandemic level

Published: Nov. 28, 2021 at 6:52 PM EST
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HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) - This holiday weekend has already set pandemic records with more than 2.3 million Americans flying the day before Thanksgiving, while TSA expected to screen more than 20 million passengers over several days.

On Saturday alone TSA screened more than 2.2 million people, that number almost double what it was the same day last year and closer to travel numbers in 2019.

As many head home from their Thanksgiving destinations through Richmond International Airport (RIC) passengers say things looked pretty light for Sunday morning.

Jaclyn Donohue, a lacrosse player at the University of Richmond, says she left home from Boston early on Sunday to try and avoid those large crowds that were expected.

“My flight out of Boston left at 9:15 a.m. so I kinds of got ahead of it, I know we got an email the night before saying you should arrive within like two hours before the flight which is a little bit longer than normal but it wasn’t too bad,” Donohue said.

RIC told NBC12 they had multiple arrivals each hour on Sunday up until midnight.

Many passengers say they saw the opposite of packed flights they saw when they were headed to their destination like Connor Eads who was heading back from Thanksgiving with his family in Florida.

“It was swamped it on Tuesday, it was packed every seat on the plane,” Eads said. “But for this one coming back it was out of Atlanta it was relatively spaced out and even then it was a connecting flight to Denver so only half the people on there got off.”

Not all travelers were able to see a smooth end to their holiday weekend and were met with lines at the airport.

Emma Weber who goes to William and Mary says she was headed back from Cleveland and her family made it to the airport at 4 a.m. to still be met with traffic going into the airport.

“My dad couldn’t even like stop and get out and say goodbye to me and stuff like that so it was defiantly rough in terms of driving and also just the security stuff,” Weber said.

Officials with RIC say the busy traveling isn’t done just yet and expect crowds of passengers to come through Sunday night into Monday morning.

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