Americans Shrug Off CDC Pleas to Stay Home

Millions of plane tickets were already bought
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 22, 2020 3:30 PM CST
Americans Shrug Off CDC Pleas to Stay Home
Travelers talk in a terminal at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. The recent weeks' soaring numbers of coronavirus cases in Illinois prompted Gov. J.B. Pritzker to reimpose harsher restrictions on social interaction.   (AP Photo/Teresa Crawford)

(Newser) – Millions of Americans bought tickets to fly somewhere for Thanksgiving before the nation's top public health agency pleaded with them not to travel for the holiday, the AP reports. So what are they doing now? In many cases, they're still crowding airports and boarding planes. That's despite relatively lenient cancellation policies that major airlines have implemented since the coronavirus pandemic emerged earlier this year. "Consumers should feel comfortable changing their plans and canceling their flights if they need to for health reasons," said John Breyault of the National Consumers League. Most airlines won't pay cash to refund a flight if you decide to heed national health warnings but they are waiving fees and offering vouchers.

Breyault said to "familiarize yourself with the policies" because the voucher specifics vary by airline and can depend on when the ticket was booked. It's not clear how many people are taking those vouchers. Images that emerged this weekend of crowded airport terminals showed that plenty of people are flying anyway. More than 2 million people were screened at US airports on Friday and Saturday, according to the Transportation Security Administration. While that's far lower than during the same time last year, Friday was only the second time since mid-March that daily airport screenings topped 1 million. A day earlier, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Americans should skip Thanksgiving travel and not spend the holiday with people from outside their household.

(Read more Thanksgiving stories.)

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