Airports see a return to normalcy with Memorial Day travel

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The number of vacationers going in and out of KCI Airport is slowly returning to normal as people travel for Memorial Day weekend.

Officials said it’s the busiest the airport has been for holiday travel since the start of the pandemic.

Some are flying to a nice get away, others like Marie Smith, said they traveled for major milestones they missed last year.

“You cry when you see them, you cry when you leave them,” Marie Smith, who was traveling this weekend, said.

Smith saw her grandson, who was born during the pandemic, for the first time.

She says airports are busy, but everything went well.

“A lot of hands on,” Smith said. “We do our own tags on the suitcases and what not, but they have it down to a system. I mean, it flowed smooth.”

She wasn’t the only one who came to Kansas City for something they missed out on because of COVID-19.

“Had a wedding this weekend that was postponed,” Nick Vandermolen said.

Vandermolen’s friends tied the knot. Their wedding was supposed to be around this time last year.

“I think everybody was kind of itching to get back on planes,” Vandermolen said. “It’s a little bit annoying flying with the mask on, but we got to be safe.”

KCI said the number of people traveling is slowly getting back to normal.

Airline seats in the market are 60% of pre-pandemic levels.

They expect to be closer to 75% in coming weeks.

“I got my vaccinations,” said Smith. “With having my son and grandson in California, I’m very astute about it and I’m old school too. If they say there’s a vaccination, we do the vaccination.”

Travelers said the rise in travel numbers might be connected to more Americans getting the vaccine and a lift in COVID-19 restrictions.

Even though restrictions have been lifted, masks are required in and outside of the terminals due to federal mandates.

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