MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Despite a Centers for Disease Control warning not to travel this Thanksgiving, on Wednesday the terminals were busy at Miami International Airport.
“There’s traffic, crazy, a lot of chaotic people,” said Louie Gabutt who was waiting for his flight.
Garbutt was heading back to Belize after being stuck in New York since the start of the pandemic.
“It’s been a hassle because I had to go back to taking the test and my results came in yesterday and I was supposed to fly yesterday,” he said.
Imani Fulmer and her daughter said they were flying out to Arizona for the holiday and didn’t expect to see so many people.
Peter Rodriguez rushed to his terminal with his grandson.
“I’m going to see my family in Austin,” said Rodriguez.
FaceTiming his family before checkpoint, he said it will be the first time he sees his family in Texas since the pandemic began.
“I’m excited,” said Rodriguez.
Natasha, who had just arrived from New York City, was excited to see and hug her father. She said it had been months. However, she expressed she didn’t feel as safe as she thought on her flight.
“Everything went smoothly but the flight was very packed and it made me concerned,” said Natasha.
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Airport officials said it’s been busier than expected.
“Although we projected 30,000 passengers yesterday, we saw 50,000 passengers, so about 20,000 more than expected,” said MIA spokesman Jack Varela.
Monday and Tuesday combined saw close to 100,000 travelers make their way through MIA.
Traffic also picked up at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. From Tuesday through Monday, they expect to see more than 480,000 travelers. That’s down about 40 percent from last year.
MIA is also seeing a dramatic drop in Thanksgiving travelers.
“We do a 12-day projection every year for holiday traffic around this time. This year we’re expecting around 621,000 passengers. Last year, we had 1.5 million passengers coming through the airport,” said Varela.
Saturday and Sunday are expected to be the busiest days of travel.
If you are going on a plane, medical experts urge you to please follow those CDC guidelines