Vaccinations factor in many people’s decision to fly again

Updated guidance from the CDC Friday is expected to give a boost to travel.

The revised guidelines will make it even easier for fully vaccinated passengers to fly, and may also bring added confidence.

The data shows the turbulent times of air travel are beginning to get smoother, at least domestically.

And with 17% of the US population vaccinated, the changes in the CDC travel guidelines will make it easier for people in that group to fly.

US air travel has recently started taking off, and for some, getting vaccinated has factored into flying.

"I like to travel. I was doing a lot of travel before COVID and I wanted to get back out there," said Destiny, a traveler at SFO heading back to Portland.

Even those not vaccinated say their confidence has increased.

"Yes, for sure. 100%," said John May, a college student coming home from Southern California.

Airports like SFO resembled a ghost town a year ago, but have recently seen a significant increase in activity, according to SFO spokesman Doug Yakel.

"We know that there is pent-up demand.  We're starting to see a little of that at SFO in terms of some of the highest numbers of passengers we've seen during the pandemic."

Demand is seen in the numbers from the TSA.

April 1st of 2020, only 124,000 passengers went through airport security domestically, but that number climbed to 1.5 million this year, and has remained above a million since mid-March.

Revised CDC guidelines say people who are fully vaccinated can travel domestically safely, no longer needing a negative COVID test unless their destination requires it.

The fully vaccinated also no longer need to self-quartine after arriving at their travel destination.

"And really with vaccinations rolling out throughout, the industry is looking to the CDC to say look ‘let's make it easier for people who have been vaccinated to feel good about traveling.’"

The vaccine gave a couple of grandparents from Texas a shot of confidence to trade roadways for runways to visit family in the Bay.

"The previous times we’ve gone since COVID have all been driving, and we didn’t really feel safe traveling but we’ve both been vaccinated," said Bruce Hayes.

As the tight grip of COVID loosens, so do the restrictions in getting from point A to B, as everyone waits to see if they can continue traveling safely to make more memories.

"We had an awesome time.  Awesome time," said Rosie Gee, returning to SFO from a pleasure trip to San Diego.

Vaccinated or not, a federal mandate still requires mask-wearing on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation, while social distancing and handwashing continue to be highly encouraged.

On the horizon, the CDC says it will soon issue new travel guidelines for the cruise industry.