GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Tens of thousands of people are expected to travel this week through the Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids. 

Officials said more than 40,000 passengers will hit the air, which equals about 7,000 a day. Thursday is expected to be the busiest.

Guest traffic is at 81% of 2019, which was a record-breaking year for the airport, leaders said. If you are heading out of town for Christmas, you’re encouraged to pack your patience and give yourself as much time as possible.

Travelers are asked to research the COVID-19 requirements for wherever their going so their not caught by surprise. It’s also important to remember there is a COVID-19 testing site on airport property, for anyone who would like to get tested before they leave.

COO Alex Peric said you should arrive to the airport as least two hours before your flight.

“This will give people plenty of time to find a parking spot, check in with their airline, go through the TSA security checkpoint, maybe grab a cup of coffee post-security and then on to their flight on time,” Peric said.

You can stay up to date with TSA wait times, flight delays and arrival times by downloading the Gerald R. Ford International Airport app through Apple App Store or Google Play.

Health experts also want to make sure you’re informed and safe before flying. Dr. Andrew Jameson, an infectious disease expert with Mercy Health, said it’s better to be overly cautious than not at all. 

He said his biggest advice is to get vaccinated and try to get a higher-grade mask such as an N-95 before traveling. If you only have cloth ones, he says it doesn’t hurt to double up.

On the airplane itself, Jameson said it’s very safe. It’s what you do before and after that can be risky.

“I think we all feel that traveling itself can be pretty safe, it’s what you do there,” Jameson said. “For example, like if your Uber driver says, ‘oh don’t worry about a mask,’ well you don’t know anything about the Uber driver. Wear a mask while you’re driving in a car with someone else for 30 minutes, you know, things like that are kind of where you can add extra layers of safety to yourself as you travel.”

He said you should also remember to wash your hands a lot while traveling and try to avoid large groups as much as possible.