More COVID-19 vaccinations will boost confidence in travelers, RDU survey says

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Raleigh Durham International Airport leaders want to reassure you about your safety if you decide to travel this spring.



At 10 a.m., officials with RDU discussed recent travel trends, especially in light of the ongoing COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

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The president and CEO of Raleigh Durham International Airport talked Tuesday about the safety of flying during a pandemic.


TSA screened 5.2 million people in the United States between Thursday and Sunday. That's more than any four-day period in all of 2020.

Still air travel remains down significantly when compared to 2019.

Airport officials hope increased transparency will reassure travelers that flying can be done safely even during the pandemic.

RDU International Airport asked travelers what it would take to make them feel safer walking through the doors of its terminals and hopping on board a flight to which the majority answered: a COVID-19 vaccine.

The March 2021 Passenger Confidence survey was the airport's third survey conducted during the pandemic and was sent to about 14,000 RDU travelers; 500 responded.

Michael Landguth, president and CEO of the RDU Airport Authority said the key takeaway was clear.

"Widespread vaccinations will be the key to the recovery for RDU and this industry," Landguth said. "The vast majority of RDU users intend to be vaccinated if they haven't already been and most agree that being vaccinated makes traveling safer."

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Of those who responded, 54% said that would feel safe traveling from RDU this week, a statistic that hasn't changed since November.

But when asked if traveling by airline would be safer if vaccinated against COVID-19, 76% said yes.

"As long as people keep getting vaccinated, as soon as I can get the rest of my family vaccinated then I think we'll definitely be traveling more," said Stacie Diette, who was flying out of RDU Tuesday.

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Nearly everyone who responded to the survey, 91%, said they were either already partially or fully vaccinated or intended to get their shot soon, but not every passenger is on board with the COVID-19 vaccine.
Landguth said travelers can expect COVID-19 safety protocols such as mask wearing and social distancing to stay in place at RDU as the vaccine rollout continues.

"Even without the vaccine it's still safe to travel, but we need to travel smart," Landguth said.
As more travelers are choosing to fly during the pandemic, RDU launched a new interactive map on its website; Landguth touting the airport is the first in the world to do so.

The tool helps travelers look ahead to see what COVID-19 requirements are in place at their destination.

"Knowing your destination's travel restrictions allow you to properly plan and make informed decisions before you leave your house," Landguth said.

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