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If You Like To ‘People Watch,’ You Might Consider Hanging Out At Airport Today

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — If you like to “people watch” this Memorial Day holiday, then you might consider hanging out at the Cyril E. King Airport in St. Thomas this weekend.

Long lines of people waiting to make their connections to the U.S. mainland stretched from one end of the St. Thomas airport to the other this weekend.

And the long lines for air travelers is not unique to the U.S. Virgin Islands, travel experts said today.

Americans traveling by plane over Memorial Day weekend should prepare for some of the longest waits at airports in years, travel experts warn.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas encouraged patience among travelers who, he said Friday, should brace themselves for large crowds and long lines over the holiday weekend, which marks the first major travel holiday following the widespread rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S.

Meanwhile, people in St. Thomas tended to take the long lines of air passengers at the airport in stride on social media.

“Oh crap,” Denise Kent said.

“Oh,,,my,” Sandi Darling said.

“Heard Greenhouse was packed for dinner last night. Guess we’re back, minus the ships,” Susan Louth said.

“OMGOMGOMG,” Kelly Boylan Suazo said.

“Happy Memorial weekend… wait its always like that !!” Earlene Duncan said.

“Everyone’s wearing a mask, right?” Alana Lee Mawson asked.

“It was crazy in there!! I called to you when u passed!” Jonathan Spencely Sr. said.

“Heard somebody hail me, but you weren’t obvious in that crowd lol,” Jonathan Spencely Sr. replied to Andy Young.

“This is ridiculous…those of us who live here can’t even travel for stateside family emergencies safety with all this going on!!” Julie Ann Brooks said.

“OMG!” Kate Beckwith said.

“St. Thomas this sh– is getting old…time to step up….was the same thing last year March when I was there visiting,” A.C. Spencely said.

“WelllllllMyJEEEZUS!!!” Angela Gigi de Lugo said.

“Is this because they have all these big planes leaving all at once instead of spacing them out throughout the day? What I’ve noticed is most of the day, the airport is quiet from the jets leaving, and then in a span of two hours, you have multiple big jets leaving all at once. is THIS the intention? Gos man… this is crazy.” LaLa Jé said.

“A couple weeks ago, nine jets, six gates,” Andy Young replied to LaLa Jé.

“Wow,” LaLa Jé said.

“St. Thomas is considered a turn around airport… which means the planes do not originate from here they only come in, pick up, and leave. You are definitely correct about the planes leaving at once. They have tried to get the airlines to change their schedule but changing the schedule for one location changes the schedule for the entire operations and that is not conducive to the business,” Tiana M. Brown replied to LaLa Jé.

“I don’t miss that sh–,” Laura Doumeng said.

“Still faster/easier than Trump in the neighborhood,” Andy Young replied to Laura Doumeng.

“That’s another reason why I left Florida, especially Palm Beach county,” Laura Doumeng replied to Andy Young.

“We cancelled our august trip bc I’m not doing that with two little kids! I can’t wait until it settles down to normalish. But happy the island is booming!!” Nicole Dilbeck Ellsworth said.

The Transportation Security Administration has been on a hiring spree in anticipation of a surge in Americans traveling this summer, as the nation continues to contain the spread of COVID-19, and emerges from pandemic-related restrictions that depressed air travel for more than a year, Mayorkas told ABC on Friday.

“People will see lines because there’s going to be a tremendous amount of people traveling this weekend,” Mayorkas said. “Patience is required.”

Face coverings are also still required for travel, he added. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier this month said that fully vaccinated individuals no longer need to wear masks in most settings, causing already waning mask sales to plummet, according to manufacturers. However, masks must still be worn in health care settings and on planes, trains and other types of public transportation regardless of one’s vaccination status, the CDC said. 

“The mask mandate is a federal mandate in airports and on airplanes,” Mayorkas reiterated. “That’s going to hold true probably until mid-September.”

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