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Travel Boom At MIA Comes As Omicron Cases Continue To Rise

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Holiday travel continues to boom as many who have not seen family in since the start of pandemic are flying again.

"It's crazy I think it's a lot of people," said traveler Tracy Stocklingsky, reacting to people packing airports in record numbers.

TSA is now reporting that since December 16 they are screening more than 2 million people every day.

The trend can be seen at Miami International Airport, where officials say they had the highest number of travelers ever last Sunday, breaking the previous travel record with more than 165,000 passengers.

Officials say they don't see things slowing anytime soon.

"We are over pre-pandemic levels already just to give you an idea we anticipate approximately 2.7 million passengers will transit through MIA this holiday season that's just up 6% since 2019," MIA spokesperson Indira Barillo.

A change travel expert Sandra McLemore says is not surprising.

"The travel industry never really made a full recovery, but people are tired of staying home they want to travel it's been a long time since they've been able to see family members spent time together and of course travel the world," said McLemore.

But the trend comes as Omicron cases continue to rise, still McLemore says most passengers made their holiday plans prior to the spike.

"Omicron accounted for only .7% of COVID cases in the US on December 4th. Fast forward to now, it's in the 70s, more than 73%," said McLemore. "So what that's really showing us is that people maybe traveling in big numbers right now, but because omicron spread so quickly more than likely a lot of the people who were traveling booked their travel months ago."

McLemore says this has left passengers with a choice: change your plans or take precautions. And those CBS4 spoke to chose the latter.

"I'm going back to spend time with my family, right is both of us are, this is the last getaway we could get," said traveler Brandon Mackey.

"I'm not worried about COVID because I believe everything is from God," added another passenger.

And traveler Ira Frazer said, "I believe in science not Fauci. Flying is safer than almost anything else because the air recirculates."

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