Crowds continue in airports and shopping centers during post-holiday season


ST. LOUIS – The hustle and bustle of the holidays are not quite yet over with. There are two things on millions of people’s to-do list the day after Christmas: getting back home after traveling and returning gifts.

A spokesperson for St. Louis-Lambert International Airport said the day after Christmas will be one of the busiest days over the holiday travel period.

On the other hand, people will still be in stores to make returns.

More than 20,000 people are expected to board a plane at Lambert between December 26 and December 27.

“We thought it was going to be busy, and we were kind of going to push through,” said Susan Deneen, who is visiting family in St. Louis.

Lambert Airport wants travelers to be ready for crowded gates and longer lines.

“My expectations were a lot of people, big lines, and long waits,” said Trey Brown, a Lambert Airport traveler.

TSA is prepared for a four percent increase in traffic over the next two weeks, but for one family, travel has been so far, so good.

“I thought it was going to be mass chaos, but it’s been calm,” Chris Deneen said.

Millions who were not waiting in a check-in line will be waiting in a return line.

“Honestly, some of that stuff that I thought I wanted, and I change my mind,” said Leah Politte.

People stood in lines with bags and boxes. They are a part of the 77 percent expected to take back gifts according to a survey with Oracle, an online retail platform.

“There were a few things that she wanted that I didn’t guess, so we’re going to exchange and find what she wants today,” said Adam Veevers, as he returned a projector with his significant other.

Some people said the return policies helped them decide where to buy gifts. As the culture of shopping shifts, people are less offended by the idea of making returns. There’s an expected 26 percent increase in returns compared to last year.

“The intention is always admired, I think, and I’m grateful for the gift but it just kind of missed the mark a little bit,” said Kelsey Eckelkame.

Retailers suggest you pay close attention to the return policies which can change during the holiday season. Here are a few from large retailers.

Best Buy accepts returns through January 14, Walmart accepts returns until January 25, and Amazon up until January 31.

Lambert Airport reminds travelers to get to the airport two hours before flights, those traveling with gifts should travel with them unwrapped.

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