ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Planes and Memorial Day plans are cleared for take off, and Albany International Airport is fully staffed, sanitized, and ready to take on the crowds. Albany County Airport Authority CEO Philip Calderone says the airport expects more than 3000 travelers Thursday alone. It’s a complete one-eighty from the height of the pandemic when travel was down 97 percent.
“Traveling last Sunday was back to 90 percent nationally of what it was in 2019, but our airport, we’re probably averaging around 60 percent of where we were but every day that number is improving,” Calderone says.
The more people come back, the easier it is to notice how much people have forgotten about flying. TSA Federal Security Director Bart Johnson says last week, officers seized a gun someone mistakenly brought with them and they caught two more firearms through the checkpoint the week before that.
“For any individual to do that, that’s totally irresponsible,” Johnson says.
It’s a good time to remind everyone, review what you can and can’t bring on a plane. Increased travel also means you should expect lines and crowds again. Those who show up 20 minutes before a flight expecting a breeze have already been stopped short.
“You probably could’ve gotten away with that in March 2020, but you can’t anymore, so please get here 90 minutes before your flight takes off,” Johnson advises.
And easing restrictions don’t apply in the airport since you have to have a mask — whether you’re vaccinated or not. Johnson does suggest keep your vaccine card on you, since other states may require proof.
“If I was traveling with my wife, I would definitely be bringing a vaccination card just in case, because you don’t know what you’re going to encounter when you get there. It’s a very good idea,” he adds.
They ask for patience as people get used to dealing with TSA again and remember — these officers worked through the height of the pandemic to bring much needed medical supplies, staff, and vaccines when we needed them most.
“In my opinion, they are heroes and I appreciate everything that they have done to keep this airport functional, safe, and operational,” says Calderone.