OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Airport travel is the busiest it’s been since before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While it’s an exciting time – the TSA is still requiring masks for everyone in the airports and planes – leading some passengers facing major consequences for not complying.
Even though Oklahoma City’s mask ordinance has expired – you’ll see plenty of reminders throughout the airport that these are still required at Will Rogers World Airport.
“You definitely want to make sure you have your mask on, on a plane,” said WRWA Spokesperson Stacey Hamm. “They can ask you to de-plane and take it further if necessary.”
Bad behavior – in many cases connected to the use of masks – on planes has been on the rise.
The issue has led the The Federal Aviation Administration to take a zero-tolerance approach.
Unruly passengers could now face criminal charges, tens of thousands of dollars in fines or lifetime bans from airlines.
In a normal year, the FAA sees between 100 and 150 cases like this – but since the start of 2021, 1,300 have been reported nationally.
However, in OKC – it’s a different story.
“No issues, everybody’s been great,” Hamm said.
Staff at Will Rogers says the mood has been positive as more and more travelers come through the door.
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May 2nd was their highest travel date since the start of the pandemic.
“It was a little over 5,100 people that came to the airport,” Hamm said. “A lot of leisure travel, a lot of families have been getting out and enjoying their vacations early, it looks like.”
It’s an encouraging sign after a year that took a toll on many working in the travel industry.
“We did ok at the airport, I think some of the airlines furloughed their people there for a while but nationally, the airports are very happy with the numbers they’re seeing,” said Hamm.
If you forget your mask, staff at the ticket counters and security check point have them on hand. Even though they’re not back to pre-pandemic travel numbers, you’re still encouraged to arrive early to make your flight.