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December 23, 2021

Lots of travelers expected at Bradley, on the roads for Christmas

Jim Michaud | Journal Inquirer Travelers at Bradley International Airport in November 2021.

With the holidays arriving and a strong desire to travel among many who stayed home last year, Bradley International Airport and AAA are expecting a large number of people to hit the roads and take to the skies.

Those hoping for a white Christmas might get their wish — at least in north central Connecticut — on Christmas Eve when there may be light snow, according to meteorologist Matthew Belk of the National Weather Service in Norton, Massachusetts. Early predictions indicate the snow will turn to rain on Christmas Day with more light snow again on Saturday night, Belk said.

It will be mainly dry before and after the holiday, he said.

While air travel suffered a setback from COVID-19 in 2020, the Connecticut Airport Authority anticipates nearly twice as many travelers at Bradley into the new year. The holiday travel period started on Saturday and typically stretches across 18 days into the first week of January with the busiest times between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m., the CAA said.

Tracy E. Noble, spokesperson for AAA in Greater Hartford, said if there’s one thing the company has seen throughout the year, it’s pent-up desire for travel. Whether people will be getting in their cars for an overdue visit with friends and family or planning a more significant holiday getaway, there seems to be little discouraging them, she said.

Newly imposed travel restrictions apply only to international travel, Noble said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is cautioning domestic travelers to delay their trips until they are fully vaccinated. For those who are already fully vaccinated, the CDC advises getting tested both before and after their trip.

The CDC advises people to check the current COVID-19 situation at their destination, and be ready to follow all state, local, and territorial travel restrictions, including mask wearing, proof of vaccination, testing, or quarantine requirements.

AAA suggests those who are driving should try to travel during off-peak hours and those flying should get to the airport two hours prior to their flight. The company advises booking a vehicle checkup to avoid a breakdown or battery failure.

The airport authority also advises arriving for flights at least 90 minutes before take-off and to consider checking in ahead of time.

Other tips the airport is offering include visiting ahead of arrival for the latest information on parking availability, and to have credentials ready to speed up the security screening process.

Even though the national gas price average of $3.31 has been trending down for about a month, Noble said prices are still more than $1 higher than a year ago. In Connecticut, she said gas prices have been dropping slowly with the average price at the pump at $3.52 a gallon.

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