Record amounts of people expected to travel for Christmas

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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - This holiday travel season is projected to be one of the busiest on record. According to AAA, an estimated 97.4 million people will be on the road while 6.4 million will be in the air. Flights have been fully booked here at Meridian Regional Airport.

“Travel has been really strong this year. We have full flights today, full flights until Christmas Eve, and only on Christmas Eve do we start having a few seats that folks can still buy,” says Tom Williams, the President of the Meridian Airport Authority.

This is the first time since 2000 where people have the option to fly to two major hubs for the Christmas season: “It brings more, more opportunity, you know, while one hub twice a day is a great thing, going to two different hubs just gives that much more flexibility. If the weather’s bad in one part of the country, it’s not bad at the other part generally, so it’s really worked well operationally, and I think that passengers really like it,” says Williams.

Staff at the airport are more than prepared to help passengers during this busy travel season.

“Our people at the ticket counter are just great, and they have done such a great job working with our passengers, and I think that’s why a lot of the passenger traffic have been so strong lately is we’ve got great people that treat you like a person, and not a passenger,” Williams explains.

Despite the Friday morning flight being delayed due to fog, travelers have kept up their spirits.

“It’s been great, the people here have been fantastic, they let us know ahead of time about the delay, and they’ve been very accommodating,” says Deborah Clinton, a resident flying to visit family for Christmas.

According to AAA, travel volume as a whole is estimated to increase by 3.1 percent in 2017 compared to last year.