TPA expects holiday travel surge to be half of what it was last year 

Every year, Tampa International Airport prepares for long lines during the holiday season. However, this year, there's a different type of line crowding TPA's main terminal.

"I'm going to get my COVID test, well actually my antibody test," said Connie Watt, a passenger traveling from Tampa waiting to get tested at TPA's testing site.

Sunday's line to get a COVID-19 test inside the terminal was filled with passengers who plan on flying in the coming days. For some, a negative COVID-19 test provides a little extra peace of mind before boarding the plane. For others, a negative test result is required to get them where they need to go.

"I'm getting my test so I can fly into the Philly airport," said Watt. "Flying into Philly you have to have your COVID test within 72 hours."

TPA told FOX 13 they expect to see fewer passengers flooding their gates this Thanksgiving as a result of the pandemic.

However, with the number of people taking to the sky already low, the holiday crowd could be the biggest surge of people the airport has seen since March.

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"A lot of people that are going to be traveling are going to be first-time travelers in a long time, so they haven't been to the airport in a while," said Emily Nipps, a spokesperson for TPA.

The weekend following Thanksgiving is usually the busiest time to travel. TPA estimates that they will see roughly 100,000 passengers come and go over those two days. Those numbers are still 50 percent less than what the airport would normally see.

"This year is a little different because obviously we have less traffic than in the past, but we are expecting to see some traffic pick up around the next week," said Nipps.

TPA said for those who do plan to travel this holiday season, safety should be a priority, including wearing a mask and knowing what travel restrictions may be in place before you fly.


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