TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Crews at Tampa International Airport are preparing for their busiest time of year, Thanksgiving.
Albert Andrew is spending the holiday in the Dominican Republic. He’s traveling Tuesday, trying to avoid the bigger crowds at the airport.
“It’s not that bad right now, so it seems, it’s light right now. As it gets, it’s a few days early, but as it gets to Wednesday, Thursday there’s going to be a lot more people out there. The flights all seem to be filled up so I’m trying to get a jump on that,” Albert said.
According to AAA, 4.2 million are traveling by plane to reach their holiday destinations, and nearly 192,000 of those passengers are Floridians.
TPA spokesperson Emily Nipps says they’re seeing pre-pandemic numbers.
“We’re expecting on averge, about 70,000-75,000 passengers a day. We’re going to see some peak days of more than 80,000 ad, that’s usually the day before Thanksgiving and the weekend after Thanksgiving. Those are usually the busiest times all year,” Nipps said.
She tells 8 On Your Side the new curbside express lanes can speed up the process for travelers.
“If you’re seeing some congestions on our curbsides, that’s very normal this time of year. You have an option. So, if you don’t have to go to baggage claim you can use our express curbsides to get picked up,” she added.
Albert is grateful the pandemic isn’t keeping as many families apart during the holidays this year.
“It’s good to see more people just out and about,” he said.
Travelers can save money on parking by booking spaces ahead of time on the airport’s website.
Nipps said the airport is also looking to fill hundreds of open positions.
“We do have a lot of open positions, however, we have all our options open. Our restaurants and our shops are open now, our restaurants and our shops are open. Some of them have limited hours, some have limited offerings, but we do have enough staff to keep everything open,” she said.
To apply for a position, visit the airport’s career page.