MIAMI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, FLA. (WSVN) - Despite the rise in COVID cases,Thursday is expected to be one of the busiest days at South Florida airports.

‘Tis the season for all things holiday travel as thousands of South Floridians are set to pack their bags and their patience to make it to their holiday destinations.

“A lot of people, but the airlines are doing pretty well. I got here on time, two hours before just following procedures, so I can get home to see family,” said traveler Nateisha Campbell.

Another passenger, Michele Lancelot, is traveling with her family of five to Dallas.

“We had to get up extra early, our flight is at 7. We left our house at 4 o’clock just to make sure we weren’t going to have problems with parking. So far it’s been pretty seamless,” she said.​

Passengers will need patience, as Jermaine Lewis knows all too well, after missing his flight to Connecticut to see family out of state. Aside from his slight holiday delay, pandemic travel is also on the top of his mind.

“Visiting family, friends, and just try to make the best of the situation,” said Lewis. “It’s a bit scary, but once you sanitize and keep your mask on and social distance, if you can, I think everything’s gonna be all right.”

And it’s off to Vegas for Natalie Lopez but no casinos, as she looks to return to a sense of normalcy this holiday.

“Spending time with family, being able to travel given every circumstance that we have, so I’m very excited,” she said.

“We’re vaccinated, wearing our mask on the plane like we’re supposed to, and we’ll just be careful, but we also wanna enjoy our family and try to get back to normal. It’s been two years since we’ve seen them,” said Lancelot.

“I have a double mask that I’m gonna put on the plane,” said Lopez.

Airport officials advise those on domestic flights to arrive three hours early, and those on international flights to arrive three and a half hours early.

“It’s very crowded. I mean, it’s very slow,” said traveler Sunil Hani. “This line looks like it’s gonna take three hours, bro. I’m not gonna make it.”

He said he has a plan B if he misses his flight to St. Kitts.

“I’ll go back to the hotel and party,” Hani said.

In addition to making their flights, some passengers had other things on their wishlist.

“Be patient and just be nice. You know, it’s the holiday spirit, we’re all in this together,” said Lancelot.

“Wish everybody a safe holiday, and hope that this pandemic subsides for 2022,” said Lewis.

The mask mandate at airports will remain in place until March 18, 2022.

FLL expects to see 1.4 million passengers during the next week.

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