CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — AAA estimates nearly 110 million people will travel for the holidays, with 100 million people expected to hit the roads, more than six million expected at the country’s airports, and nearly three million on other transportation.
Corpus Christi International Airport is expecting a busy week of travel, and that started Monday.
“We’re starting to see the holiday traffic pick up today,” said Director of Aviation for the City of Corpus Christi, Kevin Smith.
Smith said the airport will have 14 flights a day this week, with 200-250 people expected to pass through the airport’s terminals a day.
“The numbers are running really, really similar to the 2019 numbers, before the pandemic hit,” he said. “We should be about 95% of where we were last December, so really strong numbers. I think we’ll be back pre-COVID in March.”
Passengers coming in to CCIA Monday were mostly coming to visit family, like Darby Lenning, who is visiting her dad, and excited to take advantage of the warm weather.
“We’re going to go to Mexico and visit the beach, and soak in this warm weather until I go back home,” she said.
Israel Parajas is originally from Brownsville but now lives in New Jersey. He said he is excited to be back home with his family for the holidays.
“It feels good. Working a lot, traveling a lot, it feels good just to be home for a while, and relax,” he said.
Andrea Bottari is from Massachusetts and hasn’t seen some of her children in years. She flew in Monday to spend some time in Corpus Christi.
“I’m just pretty excited, it’s awesome to have all the family together,” she said.
Jen Koerlin and her family flew in Monday from Denver, and are staying a few days to enjoy the area before heading back home for Christmas.
“We just came out for a quick family trip before Christmas,” she said. “Just a quick little thing of fun before family and holidays.”
On the road, gas prices have dropped locally just in time for holiday travel. According to AAA, average gas prices in Texas have dropped ten cents over the last month.
Cassi Riddle will be taking advantage of the cheaper gas and heading to San Antonio with her daughter for a shopping trip.
“We’re just going to hit up the malls, look at the Christmas lights, and have fun,” she said.
Sharri and Curtis Meeks are not planning on traveling for the holidays, but those lower prices will help their kids, who are coming from San Antonio and Austin for Christmas.
“We’re excited to see them come down and spend the holiday with them,” Curtis said. “We only get together once or twice a year, it’s hard because everybody works, and you know how that goes,” Sharri added.