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Labor Day weekend air travel surpasses pre-pandemic levels

'With the price of fuel coming down, travel is normalizing,' business expert says
Travelers queue up at the south security checkpoint in Denver International Airport as the Labor Day holiday approaches Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2022, in Denver.
Posted at 1:15 PM, Sep 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-08 15:22:56-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.  — New numbers show nine million Americans traveled over the Labor Day weekend, exceeding pre-pandemic levels.

It was a busy Thursday at Palm Beach International Airport.  

"We're traveling in from Charlotte," Debbie Mannon told WPTV.  

"We'll be here for approximately 10-11 days," Candra Sheriff said.  

Candra Sheriff, traveler to Palm Beach County
Traveler Candra Sheriff discusses what she will be doing during her trip to Palm Beach County.

New numbers show air travel picked up during the Labor Day weekend and it hasn't slowed down since, with people eager to visit the Palm Beaches.  

"What's my favorite part? Well the beaches for sure and some of the culinary, and we love Delray Beach," Mannon said.  

"Checking out the cool atmosphere, food of course, you know, you always get new things wherever you go, so trying to check out new things like that," Sheriff said.  

Travelers wear face coverings while navigating through other travelers waiting for shuttles to the rental vehicle lots outside Denver International Airport as the Labor Day holiday approaches Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2022, in Denver.
Travelers wear face coverings while navigating through other travelers waiting for shuttles to the rental vehicle lots outside Denver International Airport as the Labor Day holiday approaches Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2022, in Denver.

Experts tell WPTV that nine million people traveled over the Labor Day weekend nationwide, surpassing pre-pandemic levels.  

"That is signifying that people are comfortable meeting in large groups," Carl Gould, a business transformation expert with 7 Stage Advisors, said. "Why that is important is people are going to want to reconnect with the friend groups, do international travel and that means people are getting back on planes."

Gould said cancellations and delays are also down right now.  

"There are always going to be cancellations of course, but they're getting a better handle on that because they understand their workforce a little bit better now," Gould said.  

Carl Gould, a business transformation expert with 7 Stage Advisors, discusses travel increasing in the U.S.
Business expert Carl Gould discusses the surge in travel as more Americans become more comfortable taking to the skies, rebounding to levels before the pandemic.

The numbers have not been released for August, but figures in July show that 460,329 people traveled through Palm Beach International Airport compared to 445,108 people in July 2021.  

That's compared to 488,368 travelers in July 2019.  

"With the price of fuel coming down, travel is normalizing," Gould said. "People are going to say, 'You know what, it's that time now. It's time to go travel again.'"

Gould told WPTV he expects this trend to continue into the upcoming holiday season.  

"I think people are going to want to gather again with their whole families and their friend circles," Gould said. "I would expect holiday travel to be even higher than pre-pandemic levels."