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Families reunite for Thanksgiving one year after 'sad' holiday season

People at CVG airport
Posted at 11:48 PM, Nov 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-24 23:48:24-05

HEBRON, Ky. — Cincinnati Northern Kentucky International Airport was close to pre-pandemic levels Wednesday as people packed their bags and visited their loved ones this Thanksgiving.

Chandra McDonald and her family flew into the Tri-State from Katy, Texas to spend the holiday with their extended family.

“We're excited,” McDonald said. “ It's gonna be great to spend time with family — last Thanksgiving was a little sad."

McDonald said the trip is her family's first in a long time thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Last year for Thanksgiving and Christmas, we didn't really travel much anywhere,” McDonald said. “So this year, this is kind of the first time that we've gone for the holidays.”

Her family is not the only one getting back into the swing of things. Emily Gabelman flew in from Chicago, saying this year has been totally different.

“I did come here last year, but we were all so anxious about it,” Gabelman said. “You know, we quarantined beforehand and everything, but there was a lot of back and forth. We questioned if we should cancel it or do it over Zoom. This year, all of us are vaccinated — most of us, I think, actually had our booster as well. So this year is more relaxed for sure.”

AAA predicts 53.4 million people are traveling for the holiday, up 13% from 2020 but about 3% less than 2019. It’s a special time that’s bringing reunions and a sense of normalcy for some families.

“Seeing everyone being all together. It's gonna be awesome,” McDonald said.

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