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Returning Thanksgiving Travelers Encounter Few Delays At Local Airports

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- Carl White expected to be greeted by a chaotic scene when he arrived at San Francisco International Sunday for his return flight home to the United Kingdom after visiting family in the Bay Area over the Thanksgiving holiday.

But instead the lines were moving smoothly and there were few delays. The experience for most travelers was surprisingly stress free.

"We're here probably six hours before our flight is due to go -- way too early," White said. "Just trying to avoid the traffic on the way in. Although we didn't really encounter any."

For White and Samantha Jayasuriya, it was their first trip since the COVID pandemic began in 2020, so they simply didn't know what to expect especially traveling on such a busy weekend.

"We definitely had some concerns," Jayasuriya said. "We had an amazing time in the U.S. and we connected with family which we haven't seen in two years so that's important."

Kendyl Stewart said she was also pleasantly surprised as she walked through SFO.

"I have had no problems today honestly," she said. "I did anticipate stress and just headaches and crowds everywhere and really wasn't met with any."

But Stewart was mindful of COVID and remains cautious.

"I try to stay away from people in the airport," she said. "If everyone is lined up at the gates sitting, I try not to get in other people's business."

News of the new COVID-19 variant Omicron was on many travelers minds. On Monday, new restrictions will be in effect at airports across the country on travelers from South Africa and other countries.

Travelers say they will keep the same precautions they've followed throughout the pandemic.

"People wear masks, all measures are taken, so it's more or less fine," said Konstantin Korodkii, who arrived at SFO Sunday from Russia. "I think it's kind of the same as Delta variant."

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