Holiday travel picking up at Oakland airport

Holiday travel is starting to pick up prompting some Bay Area airports to brace for a surge of passengers.

On Monday, Oakland International Airport was packed with people headed out of town. 

The scene repeated itself at other airports across the country. The TSA reported more than 2 million people checked into flights over the weekend, nearly double this time last year.

The newest numbers are creeping up to 2019 pre-pandemic numbers.

In Oakland, airport officials expect its busiest traveling day to be on Thursday and the day after Christmas for return flights.

Precautions are in place, especially as the omicron variant continues to pop up. 

Some health experts say gathering and traveling for the holidays isn't as risky as last year during the peak of COVID-19 because vaccines and treatment are widely available.

"This year’s different," said UCSF's Dr. Peter Chin Hong. "We have technology. We have tools that can make every gathering safer. It just depends if everyone is going to do it."

As a result, many passengers said they are having those conversations with families and loved ones before gathering for holidays celebrations. 

"I am vaccinated, it was a requirement for holidays this year," said Paul Orian, headed to Long Beach. "We tested, we all tested at home last night, and my brother and his whole family tested at home too. We took every precaution we could do." 

California's Department of Health is now asking any traveler entering the state to get tested within five days of arrival.
All international flights coming into the United States must first show proof of a negative COVID test within 24 hours.