Christmas travelers fly home from PDX, adhere to COVID-19 rules

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Christmas travel was down compared to years past, but PDX said it was busier than it's been the last few weeks.

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Far fewer people traveled for Christmas 2020 compared to years past. Many listened to advice from health officials and local leaders to stay home for the holidays. 

For those who decided to fly, they had to comply with additional safety precautions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

The Port of Portland said Christmas travel was similar to travel during Thanksgiving weekend. The airport was busier than it had been the last few months, but air travel is still down 73% compared to December 2019. This meant holiday travelers didn’t have to deal with the stress of long lines this year.

Some say the lack of crowds made their journey easier, like Xavier Stevenson, who returned to Portland from seeing a few family members in Indiana.

“It was chill. I would have hated to leave any other year this time,” he said.

Other people said their flights were less packed than in years past, with space in between seats.

Kevin McKillip spoke to KOIN 6 News and said he was traveling home to Idaho after seeing family in Oregon. He said his family’s celebration was smaller this year and flying was different too, with fewer people and more restrictions. 

“It was very simple. Everyone wore masks. It wasn’t scary. I’m not concerned about it,” McKillip said. 

Anyone who travels is asked to self-quarantine for two weeks after returning home. 

AAA says it’s not just air travel that’s down, holiday travel is down overall in Oregon. They said 25% fewer Oregonians planned to travel for Christmas. 

Local health officials asked people to forego traveling for the holiday to help prevent the possibility of a spike in COVID-19 cases, which could overwhelm hospitals.

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