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What to know before your holiday travels through Mitchell International Airport


After a year of holiday travel marred by COVID-19, Milwaukee’s Mitchell International Airport is finally returning to close to pre-pandemic travel levels.

Mitchell International Airport spokesperson, Stephanie Staudinger, mentioned that the airport is doing its best to prepare for what could be a return to normalcy — at least as far as foot traffic in the airport.

“Toward the end of the month, December 20th into the beginning of January, that’s your busiest time that we’re forecasting,” says Staudinger.

Data from the airport shows that 2021 is catching up to pre-pandemic travel levels from 2019. In October, the last month that there is data for, there were a total of 237,502 enplanements this year compared to 297,724 in 2019.

Staudinger says the airport saw Thanksgiving travel rates similar to pre-pandemic times.

“Looking at travel trends that we are expecting and can see, it is definitely busier than it was in this time frame last year,” says Staudinger. “Looking at 2019, we aren’t quite at that level but we are inching closer and closer.”

But, with the Omicron variant spreading rapidly across the country, holiday travel plans could be impacted.

Staudinger says Mitchell International Airport is holding steadfast with their already in place requirements of masks and social distancing, as well as increased cleaning — something that has been mirrored by airlines themselves.

“Here our rules have more or less stayed the same since we first put that mask mandate in place, until March 18th that is a TSA federal mandate anyway, but we also continue to have our signs up to remind people of distancing,” says Staudinger.

With holiday travel approaching and COVID-19 cases rising, Staudinger offers advice for travelers planning to fly through the Mitchell International Airport.

“It comes back to those little things that people can do as travelers,” says Staudinger. “Checking in on the phone for the airline, avoiding crowds and that makes it a quicker experience overall.”

Beck Andrew Salgado was a producer with Lake Effect.
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