Memorial weekend travel expected to break pandemic records, experts have these tips

SAN DIEGO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (KUSI) – “As people are getting vaccinated, we’re definitely seeing more comfort,” said Sabrina Lopiccolo, from the San Diego International Airport. “We are expecting more people to be traveling during the Memorial Day weekend. Right now we’re about 40% down over the 2019 numbers, but we’re certainly up substantially since last year’s numbers.”

Sadly, what’s also on the rise is the number of unruly passengers on planes refusing to comply with rules.

A confrontation captured on video on a Southwest Airlines flight from Sacramento to San Diego showed a passenger hit a flight attendant so hard she reportedly knocked out two of her teeth. While an investigation is underway into what led up to this incident, San Diego Harbor Police have charged the woman with assault causing serious bodily injury.

“If people can realize that we’re only doing a job here, we’re trying to ensure your safety,” Lopiccolo said. “Abiding by the rules, trying to social distance as much as possible, wearing the mask, just everyday courtesy, just being a kind person would be great.”

Triple AAA predicts more than 37 million Americans are expected to travel more than 50 miles from home this holiday weekend. The majority will choose to travel by car which means the roadways will keep getting busier as we head into the weekend.

Gas prices have also reached their highest point since 2014 and experts warn passengers to budget accordingly.

When it comes to pandemic safety this weekend, Dr. Christopher Longhurst with UC San Diego said the reason we will see so many people travel is because of the success in getting people vaccinated.

“If we think back to a year ago we were just a couple of months into the pandemic,” Longhurst said. “There was a lot we didn’t know, it was potentially an unsafe time and many plans were cancelled.”

He said from a health standpoint, in certain settings we have made real progress compared to last year’s holiday weekend.

“Coming into Memorial Day, May of 2021, the traditional beginning of the summer, I am looking forward to having BBQ and having some friends and neighbors over,” Longhurst said. “Celebrating in an unmasked environment and what allows us to do that is the fact that so many people have been vaccinated.”

“So if you’re not vaccinated, I would encourage you to use Memorial Day weekend as a time to get your first shot,” Longhurst said. “If you are vaccinated, I would encourage you to take the mask off and enjoy yourself.”

Triple AAA predicts visitors traveling into San Diego to begin to increase on May 27 and last through May 31.

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