SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Last year, the pandemic kept many families apart for the holidays.
But this Christmas, the San Diego International Airport was full of heartwarming reunions.
Some families told 10News they spent the holidays virtually last year.
"Video chat... that's about it because no one really traveled," Karen Devigi said.
"It's been so hard with COVID, and last year we weren't able to get together so I'm really, really grateful that my parents are here," Erica Lawler said.
Lawler's parents are visiting from Detroit, where her mom works as a nurse practitioner.
"I was on a COVID unit for nine weeks. It was very hard to see all the sadness," Lawler's mom said.
But, Lawler's mom is optimistic things will get better.
Vaccinations are up, and so is travel.
AAA of Southern California projects travel for 2021 end-of-the-year holidays will be the third busiest on record locally.
TSA anticipates air travel to be near pre-pandemic levels with millions of people catching flights to celebrate the holiday together, in person, again.
"This year we're starting a new tradition and going ice-skating in Coronado," Lawler said.
"It's nothing like having them in person, of course. You need physical contact. We miss that," Al Devigi said.