MEMPHIS, Tenn. – More people will be taking to the skies as the holidays approach, but it’s what one traveler saw on her stop in Memphis that has her alarmed.

Expect things to get busy at the Memphis International Airport over the next few weeks. People from across the world fly in and out of the airport. But one Memphis native got an eyeful on her recent trip back home.

“I was in shock, I think, initially surprised,” said Dee Jordan.

She couldn’t believe what she saw when she got off the plane. Plenty of people were around the terminals, talking, greeting each other and wearing no masks.

“This wasn’t just one or two people, this was scores of people and, in fact, some of them are quite jubilant and chatting and talking and laughing,” she says. “All I could think about was how many respiratory droplets were entering the atmosphere inside of the airport.”

Jordan, who works as a researcher in infectious disease, was on alert. She even snapped pictures showing travelers and some airport workers going about their business with no masks on, or masks worn incorrectly, all while signs around the airport clearly state masks are required.

“They have multiple screens that give different messages. In fact, one is quite large it says face masks are required. It’s a federal mandate. Tt has the TSA logo,” said Jordan. “I was quite upset because I lost my niece in January to COVID-19. She was 24, and then I lost my aunt in February to COVID-19.”

Jordan wants to know why things are different in Memphis when COVID cases are still an issue and what the airport is doing to make travelers comply with masking rules.

“I started at Logan International where everyone was in their masks, no issues. On my plane no issues, no concerns. In Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson Airport no issues at all,” said Jordan. “Shockingly when I arrived in Memphis, I mean that part I think it broke my heart in multiple ways, because to be born in a place and to see the uncaring of others. It’s the holiday season and people are going to move about the country and world, and this is concerning.”

We asked airport officials about the masks mandate. They declined to go on camera but sent us a statement from the airport president, saying federal law requires travelers to wear masks in all U.S. airports, and every employer has a role in enforcement and each manages employee and passenger compliance in its particular area.

Meaning, it’s up to TSA to manage masks at security checkpoints, while the airlines manage gates and boarding.

When our cameras went to the airport, we did see a majority of travelers masked up. Of course, there were a few who were not. But we were also in the main terminal and did not go past security.

Jordan said she even brought the issue to the attention of an airport worker, who she says didn’t seemed concerned.

“Why so many people present without their masks now, she said, ‘Yeah, it’s a real problem,’ and kind of left. And that also bugged me,” said Jordan.

The president of the airport says police provide assistance if passengers refuse to comply with the mask mandate. Passengers who do not comply are not allowed to pass through the checkpoint or board an aircraft and may be removed from the airport.

The federal government could also levy civil penalties.  But to date, there have been no instances of that nature at Memphis International.

So, here is what you need to remember when traveling: masks are must, by federal law. The airport says it wants passengers to feel safe and also encourage you to report any concerns to them.

Jordan plans to.

“It should not be acceptable for any one of the employees of the airport on a shift to see people without masks and to allow that to stand,” she said.