EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT)– As COVID-19 cases soar, health leaders are fearing Thanksgiving Eve travels could result in inundated hospitals. Eyewitness News headed to Evansville Regional Airport to get a look at what passengers are experiencing on connection flights taking them to major airports.
Passengers say some planes flying out of major cities have been full as people try to be reunited with their loved ones.
“My flight from Houston to charlotte was packed. There was not an empty seat on there. Anyone who boarded last had to check their bags through because they ran out of space in the overheads,” said Katy Lyden, Newburgh native. She flew from Houston to Charlotte and then to Evansville to see her parents face to face. It’s the first time in a year since she’s seen them. Lyden has been hunkering down in Houston for months.
“It’s been a little bit iffy and I wasn’t sure if I was going to get stuck here or stuck somewhere else and not be able to come home if they had anymore travel restrictions so I just decided to wait until the holidays. And even that was iffy,” Lyden explained. She wanted to fly in Tuesday to beat the holiday rush, but flights were limited.
Evansville native David Phipps is in the Tri-State after having to make last minute adjustments to his travel plans for that reason. “They cancelled my flight to St. Louis and so they put me on a little small plane so. I don’t like to catch a little small plane so I just drove it was a lot better,” said Phipps. He said there was no shortage of drivers on the road as he drove from Texas to Indiana. “Oh yeah a whole lot and a lot of highway patrols too because of the traffic and everything. It was packed”
Phipps believes fighting traffic through four states is worth it since he gets to spend another Thanksgiving with his mom. “My mother. She is 93. So I’m coming to see her but I’m staying at the hotel,” Phipps explained. His family is planning on having dinner at a church where they can spread out. “I have to be real careful and everything.”
Just last week, local hospital and community leaders asked everyone to stay put this holiday. AAA predicts out of the 50 million people expected to travel for Thanksgiving. The majority of travelers are expected to drive to their Turkey Day destination.
(This story was originally published on November 25, 2020)