MYR travel returns to pre-pandemic levels Memorial Day weekend

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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Passenger traffic is bouncing back this Memorial Day Weekend at Myrtle Beach International Airport.

Millions of Americans are flying this Memorial Day weekend, and the Myrtle Beach airport is expecting travel to reach pre-pandemic levels.

According to MYR officials, more than 260 flights are scheduled to fly through the airport Friday through Monday.

On Wednesday afternoon, crowds were already starting to pick up.

“We’ll do a little bit of celebrating, beach, dance, eat, a little bit of everything… sunglasses on, shirts off,” Harry Kahn, a visitor just landing in Myrtle Beach, said.

The airport is preparing for larger crowds, more flights and an increasing number of tickets sold.

Memorial Day weekend in 2019 was a record year for MYR, but they’re expecting to exceed those numbers this holiday weekend.

“We are expecting some larger crowds, obviously last year during the pandemic, passenger traffic was down substantially, but when compared to 2019, which was a record-breaking year for us, we are looking at a 34% increase in the number of departing seats, MYR Spokesperson Ryan Betcher said.

With easing restrictions, more people getting vaccinated, plus a new airline adding flights to MYR, officials say the next four to five days will likely reflect what’s in store for the summer months.

“When we look at scheduled seats with air carriers, it’s looking like it’s going to be a very busy summer, and this could likely be a record-breaking year for us,” Betcher said.

MYR employees estimate 36,000 visitors over the next four days based on the number of seats departing from the airport.

With easing restrictions and more people getting vaccinated, it seems more people are ready to start vacationing again.

“We’ve traveled a little bit, but more local. This is one of our big trips to go somewhere with lots of people, lots of friends, so it will feel a little new and very needed,” Owen Marks, a visitor who arrived on Wednesday afternoon, said.

MYR still requires travelers to wear a mask or face covering. Officials say travelers should verify the current policies with their specific airlines and look at TSA regulations for guidance.

Nationwide, AAA predicts 2.5 million Americans will board airplanes this Memorial Day weekend.

People aren’t only traveling by plane this Memorial Day weekend. The South Carolina Highway Patrol said they’re expecting more drivers on the road this year, which means they will have more troopers out this weekend.

Close to 900 crashes happened on the road in South Carolina over Memorial Day Weekend in 2020. Troopers say they will be teaming up will local agencies to take extra safety precautions.

SCHP will keep a close eye on a couple of things: distracted driving, motorcycle safety, children in hot cars, DUIs, speeding, and people not wearing seat belts.

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