Holiday travel picking up at MFR

MEDFORD, Ore. —While you may be preparing to travel for the holiday, Medford’s airport says you’re not alone. It’s ready for a rush of travelers this week, even though some are concerned about the spread of the Omicron variant.

It’s that time of year again, which means holiday travel, and busy airports.

“Despite the new variant that’s out the airport is still seeing the same travel numbers as we did in November and October,” said the head of airport security.

The airport is preparing for the surge by making sure it’s fully staffed to take on the holiday season.  Debbie Smith, head of security at MFR says it’s already starting to see an uptick in travelers with Christmas just days away.

“The anticipation is that it would be least the same as Thanksgiving if not more,” said Smith.

Smith says Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are busy travel days. She says during peak travel plan for around a 25 minute wait time in the TSA security line or airline ticket counter.

“We do recommend that folks get to the airport about two hours priors prior to their boarding time because especially during peak travel times between 4 to 7 am the airport is very busy,” said Smith.

Despite holiday plans, Oregon Health and Science University, says the state has two to three weeks before we begin to see a surge in Omicron cases. The Omicron variant is predicted to be the reason for the biggest surge the state has seen.  That has some travelers taking extra safety measures during travel.

“I am taking extra precautions with two masks, and I brought goggles in case I need to put something over my eyes,” said one traveler.

But for others, it only plays a small part in travel plans.

“I do miss my family so it’s not enough risk for me personally to want to go, ” said another traveler.

Smith says not to bring wrapped gifts through security. If they have to inspect any items, they have to be unwrapped.

You can visit the TSA’s website or the latest rules.

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Jenna King is the 6pm anchor and our Feature Reporter at 10pm and 11pm for NBC5 News. Jenna is a Burbank, CA native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Sports Business. During her time at Oregon she was part of the student-run television station, Duck TV. She also grew her passion for sports through her internship with the PAC 12 Network. When Jenna is not in the newsroom you can find her rooting for her hometown Dodgers, exploring the outdoors or binging on the latest Netflix release.
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