Nov 30, 2021 - News

Travel at Des Moines International Airport makes roaring comeback

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Sunday marked one of the busiest travel days at Des Moines International Airport since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Driving the news: Roughly 4,590 people passed through the Des Moines' airport Nov. 28, up 101% compared to the Sunday after Thanksgiving last year, according to airport data requested by Axios Monday.

Zoom out: The travel spike was recorded across the county. The Transportation Security Administration screened more than 2.4 million people through U.S. airports Sunday, more than double from the year before.

Why it matters: Thanksgiving was a test for the upcoming Christmas holiday.

Yes, but: There's still uncertainty about what travel will look like in coming weeks due to the new Omicron variant.

State of play: Even without the Omicron factor, international travel is more complicated than before the pandemic, Jason discovered earlier this month on his trip to Spain.

  • Proof of vaccination is required to enter many countries. You may have to complete multiple and similar forms, depending on your route and layovers.
  • Plus: Anticipate long lines. (Jason's travel friends waited in customs at Chicago's O'Hare Airport for nearly 90 minutes.)

Be smart: Here are a few helpful tips for those planning to travel abroad in the coming months.

  • Download and complete the vaccine forms in advance of travel.
  • Carry your vaccination card and have digital copies on your phone.
  • Pack light, and avoid checking luggage if you can. (Jason's was lost by airlines twice during his most recent trip.)
  • Apply for TSA PreCheck and Global Entry. The programs allowed Jason to avoid the long lines that tripped up his friends.

The bottom line: There are still lots of variables that can derail Christmas travel plans, so try to think ahead and prepare for what's within your control.


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