Spring break travel setting pandemic records at airports despite officials urging people to stay home
LOS ANGELES - Spring break travel is setting pandemic records at airports despite health officials asking people to stay home.
With case rates going down, vaccine rates going up and restrictions across the country relaxing, it's a recipe for a busy spring break travel season.
"It's a girl's trip, so we’ve got a whole lot of shenanigans going on," said Bay Area resident Ebonee Breedlove.
Before the pandemic, Breedlove used to travel every six weeks. Despite a statewide travel advisory that’s still in effect, she says her sanity depends on getting on a plane.
"I’m so busy overly thinking about living, I’m not worried about dying. I mean, I’m going to do what I have to do to protect other people, as well, but I’m sorry - I’m not putting my life on hold anymore," Breedlove said ahead of her flight to Cabo. "I can’t! I won’t survive."
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She’s not alone in her wanderlust — more than 1.3 million people passed through TSA checkpoints last Friday and Sunday — setting a new record high since last March.
At Los Angeles International Airport alone, about 35,000 people are going through security checkpoints every single day.
"Traveling is definitely returning. And I expect to increase dramatically especially as people get their second shots," said Brian Kelly, CEO, The Points Guy.
Industry officials say that flight bookings are up and airlines are adding additional flight capacity into the summer, hopefully prompting period of recovery after a $35-billion dollar loss last year.
RELATED: Spring Break: Officials caution against long-distance travel
So many people have booked seats that JetBlue flight attendants who took leaves of absence this spring are being called back to work early to handle rising travel demand.
"I’m already vaccinated so I feel safe," said traveler Jennifer Rowland, from Northridge. She's Colorado-bound and hasn't been on a plane since last January.
Though, even with the vaccine, she is a little nervous.
"I think people are not really taking a lot of things serious — so hopefully since this is my first flight, I want to see how it is, and do people really keep their mask on?" she said.
Travelers are still being urged to take safety precautions before, during, and after they fly and doctors are warning people not to get complacent.
RELATED: California university paying students $75 to avoid travel during spring break
"In most cases, if you got vaccinated and reach the full immunity... testing is not important. But if you haven't been vaccinated, particularly if you’ve been traveling, if you have had exposure — testing is very important. Because we still have the possibility of non-symptomatic exposure," explained Dr. Tashof Bernton, Occupation Medical Specialist.
People arriving at LAX from out of state are supposed to self-quarantine for 10 days. And that statewide travel advisory is still in effect asking Californians to only travel if it's essential. But by looking at the increased numbers at LAX, it seems like a lot of people plan to ignore that advisory over the spring break period.
FOX 11's Mary Stringini contributed to this report.