Holiday travel drops 37% at Lambert in a decade

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) – Sunday marks the supposedly busier backside of the holiday travel weekend. All those people who travel to visit relatives usually go home on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. The thick crowds you’re used to seeing in many of the nation’s airports, didn’t happen here.

The picture out of Chicago is about what you’d expect. Big crowds packing into O’Hare Airport on what is expected to be the busiest single travel day of the year. Meanwhile in St. Louis.

“It looks like a ghost town here. I`m not sure what`s going on but there are not a lot of people here.” said traveler Dan Luber.

Terminal 1 in the mid morning Sunday could easily have been mistaken for a Sunday in September. A few people, a few lines, nothing that would make you think holiday travel frenzy. About the biggest crowd was emerging around St. Louis native and television personality Andy Cohen, who was surprised as anyone about his ease of movement.

“This is hilarious! This used to be a major destination here. This used to be a major port. Where are all the people?” said Andy Cohen.

The numbers tell at least some of the story. Among the nation’s fifty largest airports, federal transportation statistics say Lambert’s passenger load dropped by 37 percent between 2003-2013, just after TWA was sold. Only the airport in Pittsburgh saw a steeper decline. That appears to be showing up on even the busiest days now.

Some of it may just be timing. Workers say the weekend has not been like this non-stop.

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