MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesotans are taking off at a faster rate than they have in a year.

MSP Airport expects more traffic this month for spring break than it’s seen since the pandemic started.

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With so many more travelers flying, what’s the risk of getting COVID on a plane? Good Question.

It’s been a cold, harsh winter and a cold, harsh year. And Jalilia Brown, pastor at Shiloh Temple in north Minneapolis and public health advocate, has been on the front line.

“I deal with life and death. So, with that being said, I have to make sure that I do a lot of mental health care on myself,” Brown said.

So after a year of working hard, she and her family decided to take it easy, and head to Fort Lauderdale.

“For me it was so relaxing,” she said.

She says she flew Delta, where there are no middle seats.

“I felt very safe getting on the plane,” Brown said.

And she is not alone. Air travel is ascending at MSP with spring break on the horizon.

Jeff Lea is a spokesperson with MSP International Airport.

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“All the signs are showing that March will be the biggest month since the pandemic began a year ago,” he said.

But how safe is it?

Exact transmission isn’t known because contact tracing on flights just started and it’s voluntary, but a study from Harvard says, “With proper precautions, flying can be safer than grocery shopping.”

Precautions like having clean hands, masks and sanitized cabins.

A study from MIT says thanks to filtration systems, it’s safer than you think, especially when there’s an empty seat beside you.

But a European study warns of an outbreak on a flight in Ireland over the summer where 13 people throughout the plane all got COVID. There is also an ongoing message from the Centers for Disease Control saying it’s still not safe to travel.

So as vaccines roll out, stir-crazy Minnesotans weigh the risks and the rewards. Brown says she feels rested and relaxed after her trip.

“I’m fired up and I’m ready to go,” she said.

Even though MSP’s flights are the highest they’ve been in a year, business is still down about 40% from last March.

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If you are going to fly, MIT researches say window seats are safer.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield