After an anxious flight to Texas for a business trip, Orange County artist Patrice Miller vowed to stay clear of airports and airlines for the foreseeable future.

It made her nervous to see passengers on her flight from John Wayne Airport to McAllen International Airport seated with no physical distancing, many refusing to wear masks.

But she said she was most unnerved about her hourlong stopover at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, where travelers mingled together around eateries and crowded into retail stores, about half of them not wearing masks.

“I’m going to another conference next week, but I’m driving,” Miller said.

Airport operators across the country say such dread by airline passengers has helped push air travel demand down by nearly 65% compared with last year. In response, they