SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Summer travel season is starting to take off at Shreveport Regional Airport, even in the midst of the pandemic.
Coronavirus concerns are no longer grounding travelers. Airport officials said the number of travelers passing through the screening checkpoint has been steadily rising since the peak of the outbreak mid-spring.
“March, April it was like crickets,” said traveler Michelle Hurd. “There was nobody here and nobody flying.”
The airport is now reporting a near 50 percent increase in traffic from May to June.
“Air service is all based on demand, and the airlines are seeing what kind of demand there is in and out of Shreveport,” said Mark Crawford, marketing and public relations director for the Shreveport Airport Authority. “They’ve responded accordingly by increasing the number of flights in and out of Shreveport.”
To help meet that need, American Airlines is adding four more daily flights to the schedule this month, and Delta is adding one daily flight in July and another in August.
But, travel this summer will still be different than in the past.
“We wouldn’t even be able to match last year’s numbers regardless, because we don’t have the number of seats,” said Crawford.
Planes traveling to and from the airport are smaller and some airlines are practicing social distancing on flights.
“Our flight was very small, there was probably about 30 people on it, compared to when normally you’re flying with 200 people,” said traveler Meg Rodriquez.
The masks are another change.
“It’s really uncomfortable, but I think it’s safer for everyone to wear a mask,” said Hurd.
But, travelers admitted there are some perks to flying during the pandemic.
“It’s easier to get your baggage,” said Rodriquez. “And, you know, even to get to the airport because normally there’s a lot of traffic.”
“You can go right through security, there’s no lines,” said Hurd.
They said it’s worth putting up with the extra precautions to take flight.
“You can’t just, you know, live in a shell,” said Rodriquez. “You still have to get out and do as much as you can. Even though it’s difficult.”
“Travel, don’t be nervous,” said Hurd. “Don’t be nervous. Whatever’s gonna happen is gonna happen.”
Airport officials said seasonal flights to Florida help make summer traditionally the busiest travel season at Shreveport Regional Airport.