By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The airline industry is hoping for a merry holiday season after a year of devastating financial losses caused by the pandemic.

Airlines are reporting encouraging rise in holiday booking signs in the past two weeks. Executives say they’re confident ticket sales won’t dive even with the recent surge in new COVID-19 cases the way they did in early July and the summer surge in infections.

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Perhaps the biggest demographic that will be taking to the skies during the holidays will be college students heading home for winter break.

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Airlines have made many changes to keep its passengers safe. Delta Airlines says it will continue blocking off its middle seats through at least Jan. 6, 2021, and its planes have been outfitted with industrial-grade HEPA filters to keep improve air circulation. Face masks are required on all airlines, and hundreds of passengers who have refused to comply with those requirements have been banned.

“U.S. airlines, since the onset of this pandemic, have absolutely prioritized the safety and health of all passengers and their crew members,” Rebecca Spicer of Airlines For America said. “They’re leaning into science to make decisions.

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However, the CDC warns that travel can increase the chances of getting and spreading COVID-19, and emphasized that staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others.