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Holiday travel tips and trends from the Quad Cities International Airport

Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 6:57 PM CST
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MOLINE, Ill. (KWQC) - As Thanksgiving approaches and people travel, TV6 spoke with the Quad Cities International Airport about the recent travel trends and tips for holiday travelers.

Holiday Travel

Ashleigh Davis, the PR and Marketing Manager for the airport, says there are some things to keep in mind if you’re planning to fly.

“A lot of people really do try to take the dishes with them or try to bring presents or whatever it is so presents have to stay unwrapped. For whatever reason, if TSA needed to look inside your gift you don’t want to undo all the wrapping that you just did,” Davis said. “Keep your liquids either in your checked bag or under the three-ounce rule in your carry-on luggage and then just be a little bit patient.”

This is in addition to the mask requirement for anyone traveling on airplanes, which will remain in effect through January 2022.

While there are no COVID test or vaccination requirements to fly at MLI, Davis says it’s important to check what’s required for your final destination.

MLI Airport Trends

Air travel overall is slowly making its return. While the travel numbers are below pre-pandemic levels, the airport is seeing similar pre-pandemic trends.

The airport saw just over 23,000 passengers in January of this year. In October, the airport recorded 51,623 travelers, the largest number since the start of the pandemic and a welcoming stat for the airline industry.

“Quite a dramatic change in...the attitudes and comfort with traveling. It’s great to see people back at the airport and have it be busy again. This is what helps us get more frequency of routes and new routes potentially,” Davis said.

As for November and December, Davis said, “We’ll see what the numbers shake out to be but it’s definitely important to have strong holiday seasons to make sure we end the year on a high note heading into the new year.”

Regarding the type of travel they’re seeing, Davis said leisure travel has rebounded quicker than business travel. Factors for that included people traveling to places that didn’t have many restrictions and a dip in flight costs.

“There was also a period where airfare was extremely low. So it’s very affordable. It’s hard to pass up prices that people haven’t seen in years,” she said, “So right now leisure is really carrying the market for everybody.”

Holiday travel tips and trends from the Quad Cities International Airport
Holiday travel tips and trends from the Quad Cities International Airport(KWQC)

Airport Renovations

The airport made some improvements during the past year including the addition of solar panels and they have more updates on the way.

“We’re also in the middle of updating our paging system. So it’s going to be a much more intuitive system. It will adjust to ambient noise and it will be zone-based so you can hear the information that’s most important to you when you’re traveling,” she said.

Davis also said a major project will kick off within the next 18 months. They’re hoping to announce the next stage of the multi-year project at the end of the year.

“You’re going to see the entire front half of our terminal get a major facelift. It looks like it’s 1985. That’s the last time it was updated. So you could see a pretty dramatic shift to modernize the airport and prepare it for the future of travel.”

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