Fewer Utahns driving over Christmas, but uptick in air travel is expected

Dec 21, 2020, 6:41 PM
fewer Utahns driving Christmas...
Holiday travelers walk to check-in at Salt Lake City International Airport in Salt Lake City on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. Photo credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY – The American Automobile Association (AAA) is predicting that many Utahns will stay home for the holidays.

The association estimates travel from Dec. 23, 2020, through Jan. 3rd, 20221 will decline by 30% as compared to last year.

AAA Utah spokesman Aldo Vazquez said that is the biggest drop in over a decade. He believes the fear of COVID-19 is putting a dent in people’s travel plans.

However, fear is not the only factor.

“Because a lot of states are implementing new restrictions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, people are listening and putting off their [vacations] for the time being,” Vazquez said.

Those restrictions can sometimes force people to change their plans quickly.

“Last minute, maybe a day or two before, they’re deciding not to [travel],” Vazquez said. “They’re listening to what’s going on on the news, paying attention to what’s happening to the destinations they may be going to and they decide, ‘You know what? Right now’s not the best time to travel.'”

If Utahns do travel, most will do so by car.

The airport may be another story

However, officials from Salt Lake City International Airport (Airport) think they will see 16,000 travelers come through the airport doors this Christmas. That is the most people they have seen since the pandemic started.

And that total doesn’t include the number of people who will connect through the airport.

RELATED: US airport traffic rising despite holiday travel warnings

Airport spokeswoman Nancy Volmer says airlines are making it more attractive to travel.

“The airlines have loosened some of their policies so people are able to make last-minute travel plans,” Volmer says.

This includes getting rid of change fees.

But a few things at the Airport haven’t changed.  Volmer still recommends travelers get to the airport two hours early so they can catch their flight. Masks will also be required, along with the many other COVID-19 safety measures the Airport has in place.

Today’s Top Stories


utah student achievement COVID-19...
Simone Seikaly

Utah student performance knocked down during COVID-19 restrictions

A review of multiple Utah student performance exams found "significant impacts" in mathematics achievement across grades.
27 days ago
COVID-19 testing kits...
Jeff Caplan

Jeff Caplan’s Minute of News: The complicated tale of COVID-19 test kits

What's so complicated about COVID-19 test kits? Mostly, the expiration date. It's a puzzle that nobody seems able to solve.
2 months ago
moderna young kids...

Moderna seeks to be 1st with COVID shots for littlest kids

The company hopes the FDA will rule in time for young children to start getting their low-dose vaccinations by summer.
2 months ago
New eligibility rules for pandemic-EBT program...
Waverly Golden

New eligibility guidelines for Pandemic-EBT

Utah households will have to apply for free or reduced-price meal benefits with their local school by May 6 to possibly receive Pandemic-EBT.
2 months ago
Eighth grade students and their teacher wear masks during their dual language class at Mount Jordan...
Kira Hoffelmeyer

Bill that would allow parents to sue teachers over curriculum substituted during general session

The part of a bill that would have included the ability for parents to sue teachers if they didn't like what was on the lesson plan is being substituted on Utah's Capitol hill. 
5 months ago
The Salt Lake School Board eliminated 42 teaching positions because of dropping enrollment numbers....
Martha Harris, Paul Nelson, and Kira Hoffelmeyer

42 teaching positions eliminated in SLC from decline in student enrollment

The board eliminated 42 teaching positions because of dropping enrollment numbers
5 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
Follow @ikeyospe...

Tax Tuesday: The Most Common Mistakes People Make When Filing Their Taxes

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.
Follow @ikeyospe...

Tax Tuesday: How will last year’s child tax credits affect you?

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.
Fewer Utahns driving over Christmas, but uptick in air travel is expected