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Millions of Americans have Thanksgiving plane tickets, even though the CDC wants to stay home

Image: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.Source: Chad Davis, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Matt O’Brien

Providence, Rhode Island (AP) — After millions of Americans buy tickets to fly somewhere for Thanksgiving, they prevent top US public health agencies from traveling for vacations I begged for.

So what are they doing now? In many cases, they are still crowded with airports and boarding planes. That’s despite the relatively generous cancellation policies implemented by major airlines since the coronavirus pandemic occurred earlier this year.

“Consumers should not be reluctant to change plans or cancel flights as needed for health reasons,” said John Braio of the National Consumers League. I will.

Most airlines do not pay cash for flight refunds if they decide to pay attention to public health warnings, but they do offer exemptions and vouchers. “Please understand the policy well,” Braio said, as voucher details vary by airline and can vary depending on when the ticket was booked.

It is not clear how many people are taking those vouchers. An image of a crowded airport terminal that appeared this weekend showed that a lot of people were flying anyway.

According to the Transportation Security Administration, more than 2 million people were screened at US airports on Friday and Saturday. It’s much lower than the same period last year, but Friday was the second time since mid-March, with daily airport screenings exceeding one million.

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The day before, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Americans should not skip Thanksgiving trips and spend vacations with people outside their families. Dr. Anthony Fauci, a top U.S. infectious disease expert, said Sunday, a case of congestion at a U.S. airport on a Thanksgiving trip could lead to a dangerous situation as the number of COVID-19 cases surges. He said he was worried about that.

Fauci told CBS’s “Face the Nation” that people at the airport “will be involved in more problems than we are now.” He said the new COVID-19 case from Thanksgiving would be “extremely difficult” until a few weeks later, as the virus went out of control and headed for cold weather and the December holiday season. I did.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms such as fever and cough, which heals in a few weeks. For some people, especially the elderly and those with health problems, it can cause more serious illnesses such as pneumonia and death.

Airlines are emphasizing what they are doing to disinfect gates and kiosks, shorten queues and gatherings, and purify the air. However, most people also offer the opportunity to skip holiday flights and travel later, but if travelers are more expensive, they may have to pay more for replacement flights. ..

Some argue that airlines should do more. US Senator Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat who demanded a cash refund for flights skipped during the pandemic, said that those who quit Thanksgiving are doing the right thing and following public health guidance. Said.

“Airlines that have already received billions of government bailouts need to offer cash refunds to passengers when they are on vacation without both family and economic certainty,” he said on Sunday. Said in an email statement.

The TSA said it has raised staff levels, shortened routes and maintained social distance this week in preparation for increased traffic for those still traveling.

“We have frequently handled more than 900,000 passengers a day since early October,” the agency said in an email on Sunday.

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Source: Associated Press

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