Travel through Portland International Airport expected to increase for Thanksgiving holiday

By Kristian Foden-Vencil (OPB)
Nov. 26, 2020 2 p.m.

Holiday travel at Portland International Airport is down 65% over last year, but hundreds of thousands of people will still fly this Thanksgiving.

About 200,000 people, or the population of Beaverton and Bend combined, will pass through PDX this holiday weekend. The peak is expected on Sunday.

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The travel comes as the federal government, state and local jurisdictions are asking people to stay home because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For those who do travel, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown is recommending they self-quarantine for 14 days afterwards.

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A person walks into Portland International Airport on Thursday, April 9, 2020, in Portland, Ore. Many airlines have canceled flights to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Portland International Airport on Thursday, April 9, 2020, in Portland, Ore.

Bradley W. Parks / OPB

To protect staff and passengers, PDX is requiring face coverings and frequently cleaning high-touch areas, like escalators and handrails. It’s also asking that passengers be picked-up outside of the building.

“Face coverings are required at PDX, that’s been the case since May. They’re also required on board all of the airlines serving our airport,” said airport spokeswoman, Kama Simonds.

The Transportation Safety Administration is also taking measures like allowing people to carry larger bottles of hand sanitizer and maintaining possession of their IDs and boarding papers.

Air travel has declined significantly during the pandemic. And while an increase is expected this holiday, it’ll only increase by about 6%.

For people planning their Thanksgiving holiday travel by car, AAA is projecting a 10% decrease in travel. The national average for gas is $2.11 a gallon, the lowest it’s been since Thanksgiving 2015.

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