Despite the spread of the omicron variant, AAA expects 109 million Americans to travel for the holidays

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Americans who had to cancel getaways and meetings last year due to the pandemic are making up for lost time this holiday season.

Despite the spread of the omicron variant, travel experts expect more than 109 million people to travel by car, plane, train or bus. This is 34% more than last year.

AAA estimates that airlines will see nearly three times as many passengers as last year.

In 2020, there were 2.3 million air travelers. In 2019, they were 7.3 million and this year, AAA predicts that 6.3 million will fly away.

To cope with the 184% increase over last year, airlines are adjusting to meet demand. United Airlines is offering its biggest program since the pandemic. It adds more than 200 daily domestic flights.

“Vacation bookings, especially for the Christmas and New Years break, are coming in very, very strong,” said Ed Bastian, CEO of Delta Airlines.

At Tampa International Airport, travelers are already taking off to vacation with loved ones.

“It’s good, we travel a lot like that so we’re used to it, it’s nothing fancy,” said Jeff Melrose, who is heading to Montana for the vacation. “We are vaccinated and have done all we can, so just be smart and hope for the best.”

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