Arkansans take off for Memorial Day travel as COVID-restrictions loosen

Local News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — People across Arkansas are excited as they travel to visit loved ones for the holiday.

A record number of passengers are expected at airports and on the roads for Memorial Day weekend, compared to this time last year.

Folks are ready to travel for Memorial Day weekend, and more vaccination means more traveling for some people at Clinton National Airport.

Thursday, the airport had more than 2,400 passengers took to the skies, which is a huge increase since the pandemic started. Airport officials noted that when the pandemic started, the number of departing passengers was down 92 percent.

Now they are at 72 percent, a drastic change not only from 14 months ago but also from some more recent figures.

In April, the airport had an average of only 13 passengers per flight, but now some flights are full.

“I’ve been traveling a little bit but it’s a little different from previous times,” traveler Johnny Chatmon said. “It’s a lot more people now.”

Ahead of the holiday, Allegiant Airlines began new nonstop flight to St. Petersburg- Clearwater. On Friday, nonstop flights to Destin started, and more flights will begin next month.

As more people get vaccinated and travel again, it brings a sense of normalcy for many.

“It’s different because you’re trying to transition to what was… so sometimes it’s a little more awkward,” flyer Rick Harris said.

Some people have already made their plans for the weekend, with some travelers saying Friday that it’s a happy feeling to be able to travel again.

Transportation officials remind those hitting the skies this holiday weekend that that masks are still required at airports to fly.

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