AAA: Memorial Day weekend travel expected to be up 60% this year

U.S.

NEW YORK (NewsNation Now) — With the U.S. hitting a key milestone of half adults being fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the country could see its biggest travel weekend since the start of the pandemic.

From airports to highways, the U.S. is bracing for a travel explosion.

AAA predicts a 60% increase over last year. On Sunday, nearly 2 million people moved through the nation’s airports — the most since the lockdown began.

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For Memorial Day weekend, expect longer lines, fewer seats — and remember — masks are still required on planes and airports.

More travelers could also mean more trouble in the air.

On Sunday, a Southwest Airlines flight attendant lost two teeth during an assault. In January, an Alaska Airlines passenger bound for Seattle shoved a flight attendant. That person is now facing a $15,000 fine.

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“I can say I’m not surprised. Honestly, I’m not surprised,” said Melinda Jorge Henderson, a flight attendant and Vice President of the Association of Flight Attendants Council 19.

Henderson said crews are seeing fistfights and verbal and physical assaults of flight attendants. She believes things may have gotten worse now that many airlines have reintroduced alcohol.

The FAA says incidents of air rage are being reported more frequently, with 2,500 cases so far this year.

“We’re not going to tolerate behavior that threatens the well-being of the public…the employees that are bravely on the front lines,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said on Tuesday.

With airlines reporting higher than expected bookings, the TSA is hiring. The federal agency says it’s planning to add 6,000 more officers this year.

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