Travelers from Los Angeles to New York City are facing flight delays and cancellations ahead of the Fourth of July. But if you’re flying out of the Redmond Airport this weekend, you might just have better luck.
On Thursday, the terminal was busy with visitors flying in and out of Redmond.
“We’re much busier than we were at this time last year,” said Jayde Davis, the Airport Security Manager. “Two years ago we were down about 90-95% of our flight loads. Last year we saw a big increase; this year we’re back up to pre-pandemic traveling levels.”
According to AAA, 47 million Americans are expected to travel this holiday weekend, with 3.55 million traveling by air.
As bookings surge, thousands of flights have been delayed, with 5,777 delays just on Wednesday. Hundreds of others are being cancelled each day amid airline staffing shortages.
At the Redmond Airport, impacts appear to be minimal.
“We really haven’t had much negative feedback as far as that goes from the traveling public,” Davis said. “Not to say that it isn’t happening, but we’re really not seeing much of an impact here in Redmond.”
She said there had been no cancellations all week long.
“Just a slight increase on the number of travelers that we would see in and out of Redmond, it being a longer holiday weekend so we’re going to see those folks coming in and out,” Davis added. “Maybe not as heavy as spring break or Thanksgiving holiday travel, but we’ll definitely see an increase. We do have overflow parking plans in place if we need to, we’re constantly monitoring that so we have a plan if need be, but I don’t expect we’ll run out of parking for this one.”
Some travelers on Thursday could confirm.
Christine Burns traveled to Central Oregon from Tampa to visit her son, who has lived in Bend for years.
“We started in Tampa, we had a very brief layover in Salt Lake City, Utah, and we landed here in Redmond just a few minutes ago,” she said. “It was fine, we had no problems whatsoever.”
Cathy Quinlan from the Bay Area in California came to visit for a friend’s wedding this weekend.
“We came from Reno, Nevada to SFO, SFO to here,” she said. “Although it was really crowded, we didn’t have any problems.”
It was a different story for one couple, the Faasts, who awaited departure for an international trip to Albania.
“Over the last couple weeks, there’s been a number of cancellations but they’ve reset themselves, so nothing directly got cancelled, mostly moved,” Marc Faast said. “There’s been a lot of little changes which I’m hoping won’t happen anymore, from here to tomorrow anyway.”
Moments later, his partner showed him her phone.
“Oh!” Marc took the phone. “Apparently, our flight to London was just cancelled.”
A frustration travelers know best.
Despite delays, the busier airports and fuller flights means a return to familiar times.
Janna Mooy of La Pine traveled from Manhattan to Redmond on Thursday morning, a return from visiting family.
“Everybody’s just so psyched to get out there and see family and do all this fun summer stuff that’s kind of been denied us the past two years,” she said.
Faast said they were excited to get back to travel now that COVID outbreaks are fewer.
“We haven’t traveled out of this airport in the past two years. So this will be the first of hopefully more trips in the future,” he said.
Quinlan traveled last summer as well, and said things are definitely busier this year.
“I feel like it’s back to normal or maybe even normal, and I think a lot of people have had frustrating experiences, but so far so good for us,” she said.
Davis recommended that folks get to the airport two hours early to ensure on-time arrival for their flight departures.
“I know that seems excessive, but our first seven departures of the day leave before 7 a.m.,” she said. “If they’re flying on those first flights of the day, that’s where we start to see those lines accumulate.”