Milwaukee Labor Day travelers see some packed flights, others with many empty seats

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MILWAUKEE, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Labor Day provides a last chance for people across the country to see friends and family while the weather is still nice. And that means they're taking to the skies, but the travel experience is definitely different than a pre-pandemic year.

All the passengers CB 58 spoke with at Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport on Monday, Sept. 6, said it was their first time on a plane since before the pandemic.

It was a holiday weekend filled with weddings.

"My buddy got married in McKinney, Texas," said Anthony Totoraitis, who was returning to Milwaukee. "It was luxurious. It was amazing. Had the best Texas barbecue I've ever had in my entire life."

"We have friends that we've known for over 30 years and their daughter had a wedding here in Milwaukee," said Marion Bengtson, who was flying out of Milwaukee on Monday.

Across the country, more people are traveling this weekend than during Labor Day weekend last year.

"We recommend the travelers plan ahead and come to the airport 90 minutes to two hours ahead of time -- two hours especially if they're bringing and checking bags. Make sure to bring a mask to the airport. If you forgot your mask you can purchase one at the Summerfest Marketplace before going to TSA," said Christie Green, marketing coordinator for Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport.

Travelers tell CBS 58 flying this weekend was smooth sailing.

"Good trip and good people, good food, good experience," said passenger Richard Bengtson.

Passengers said flights have ranged, some were packed and others had a lot of empty seats. This weekend is still fewer holiday weekend flights than before the pandemic.

"We came from New Hampshire and landed in Baltimore, and both flights were packed: New Hampshire to Baltimore and Baltimore to here," Marion Bengtson said.

"Having a whole row to myself was really nice. I'm like 6'2 so usually I'm squished into a seat, so it was nice to have leg room," Totoraitis said.

Travelers who need to reserve parking at the airport can do that using the MKE Smart Park app.

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