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Local travel agent, airport staff noticing dramatic increase in desire to travel

Easterwood Airport staff say things have gone nearly back to pre-COVID conditions recently.
Published: Apr. 7, 2021 at 11:23 PM CDT
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - Local travel agents and airport staff say they have noticed a dramatic shift in the desire to travel again.

Wanda Paris, a College Station travel agent, says it was a completely different story one year ago.

“We were refunding airline tickets and there was one week where we refunded 150 or more,” said Paris.

Pairs says when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, travel became the last thing on anyone’s mind. She says she moved to working from home and rarely got a phone call. The only calls she got, she says, were from people who had questions about how much longer it would be for their refunds.

“I kept saying, ‘Just hang in there. Hang in there because as soon as they get a vaccine, it’s going to start,’ and that’s what happened,” said Paris.

Over the last few weeks, Paris says her phone has been ringing off the hook. Emails too, constantly coming in asking questions about booking flights and packages.

Ryan Clements, Easterwood Airport Director of Security, says they too have noticed more people in and out of the terminal.

“Flights being added in, flights being full. I know for spring break we were very full and coming up for Parents Weekend all of our flights are very full, and projections for the summer are pretty good,” said Clements.

Before the pandemic, Clements says one of their airlines typically flew six flights a day into the airport. During the pandemic, that was cut dramatically. But now, the sixth flight is being added soon, he said.

Paris says it’s a welcomed change following a tough year.

“Now there is hope again. That not just our industry but that other industries can start. I mean, it feels good to have that phone ring and say, ’Hello! How are you,’” said Paris.

Paris says before booking travel right now, it’s important to check the COVID-related restrictions in your destination, and always check updated travel restrictions or policies.

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