LOS ANGELES — Holiday travel is way down from previous years because of the pandemic and orders to stay home. But even while there are fewer travelers passing through LAX, twin sisters Nicole and Rae Henderson are still feeling the holiday travel anxiety of making their flight on time.
“Everybody has a little extra stress you know?" said Nicole Henderson.
But there are more stresses these days and more at stake. Traveling safely during the midst of a pandemic has added another level of anxiety.
Despite knowing the risks, the sisters have decided to meet their mom for Christmas in New Hampshire.
“We actually talked about it for a long time. We figured it’s the best thing to do, we’re going to stay in the hotel and just be together," said Henderson.
In past years before the pandemic, LAX would see over 200,000 people per day during the holiday travel period.
Right now, LAX Public Relations Specialist, Charles Pannunzio says the airport is seeing roughly 26% of that usual number.
“It did sort of tail off right after Thanksgiving, and we’re about at that point again now where it’s a little higher in the last few days than it’s been for the past couple of weeks," said Pannunzio.
But while L.A. Public Health officials are urging people to stay home and not gather over the holidays, Pannunzio still expects travel to be busy the days leading up to Christmas and through New Years.
“If you don’t need to travel, this is not the time to travel, but if you do, we are here to make things safer for you," said Pannunzio.
One aspect of those safety measures is getting tested, which is something you can do at select terminals at LAX.
Luke Morrel is in line to get tested in Terminal 2, so he can fly to Hawaii on Christmas Eve. If his results don’t come back in time, he won’t be going.
“Fingers crossed, hope we get them by Wednesday night and if not, we’re going to cancel because I’m not traveling with a positive test up in the air," said Morrel.
While he knows officials are urging residents to stay home over the holidays, Morrel says he just needs to get out of his house as 2020 has taken a toll on his mental health.
“It’s been a long year, been working nonstop from home and it’s just like I need any sort of respite from what 2020 has been", said Morrel.
As Nicole and Rae head to the security line for their cross-country journey, they feel they made the right choice to travel.
“I can’t be scared, I don’t want to live scared, but be careful," said Rae.
Because they live far from their family, they can’t wait to spend this Christmas with their mom.
“Of course give her a big hug, I’m super excited to see her," said Nicole.