TAMPA (WFLA) – Tampa International Airport officials are predicting to see in excess of 83,000 passengers this Saturday. It’s an incredible rebound after 2020, which had numbers severely handicapped by COVID-19.
Traditionally, this is a very busy week at the airport, with passengers flying in and out for the Thanksgiving holiday. Emily Nipps is a spokeswoman for the airport and is urging travelers to factor in extra time and, above all, be patient.
“We do recommend that people get here earlier than they are used to,” said Nipps. “Tampa International Airport has a reputation of being a very quick and easy airport to get through, but don’t put that to the test during the holidays. “
Nipps says staffing shortages will not affect travelers getting to where they need to go, but they could affect when and where they buy items, and when and what they eat.
“We have TSA checkpoints running as they should, we have all of our shops and restaurants open,” said Nipps. “Some of them are limited hours and limited menus but we do have good staffing levels to keep a high level of customer service.”
Passengers told 8 on Your Side, they weren’t concerned with traveling this time of year. Susan Darrow is leaving the country with her husband.
“No issues so far, we’re going to Panama to visit our son for the holidays,” said Darrow. “Since we, my husband and I have both been vaccinated and gotten our booster shots we’re feeling fairly comfortable about traveling.”
There were only a handful of delays and cancellations on the arrival and departure boards at TPA. But Mark Jenkins with AAA travel believes anyone who’s flying this time of year should at least consider travel insurance.
“Which could also help offset some of those unexpected costs whether you have to get a hotel over night or pay for an extra meal or two or transportation to and from the hotel,” said Jenkins. “All those things could be reimbursed.”