TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Thursday marked the start of what’s expected to be Tampa International Airport’s busiest Thanksgiving travel period ever.
Passengers are flying to all parts of the country to see their loved ones.
“I’m flying to see my daughter in Orange, California,” passenger Bob Golian said.
“I’m headed to North Carolina to visit my mom,” passenger Jason Landrem said.
Goliana and Landrem didn’t have to worry about airport parking this holiday season, but airport officials said spots are being reserved fast.
“We’re expecting to be near or at capacity across all of our parking, so booking your parking online will ensure and guarantee you a spot in your preferred garage,” the airport’s VP of Operations, Adam Bouchard, said.
Short-term parking is already fully booked for the week of Thanksgiving. There were over a thousand long-term spots left when WFLA checked Thursday morning.
If you use a ride-share app and aren’t checking on baggage, pick up and drop off should be the least time-consuming at the Blue Express curbside.
Airport leaders suggested arriving two hours early for domestic flights and three if you fly internationally.
“I used to fly later flights for the holidays and they’d always get delayed so it’s always nice having an earlier flight,” Landrem said.
While Thursday morning started slow, there was a clear pick-up of passengers at 5:30 a.m.
80,000 people are expected to fly through Tampa International Airport from now until Nov. 26.
“We’re known for people getting from curb to gate really fast, and we’re working really hard to make sure that that happens,” Bouchard said. “But with that many people through the building, it might be a bit slower than people are used to.”
Expect to see thousands of more passengers the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after when most people return home.