TAMPA Fla. (WFLA) — Leaders at Tampa International Airport said Tuesday that they’re anticipating their busiest Thanksgiving period ever this year.
“Between the Airport Authority, our airline partners, and our federal partners, that all have to work hand-in-hand to make that experience great,” said TPA VP of Operations, Adam Bouchard. “We’ve been planning for this period for many months, and we’re ready.”
Bouchard said the airport is expecting spring break travel levels starting on Nov. 16 and ending on Nov. 26. His biggest tip? Arrive early.
“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.”
He suggested two hours early for domestic flights and three hours early for international departures.
“It’s always best to just be kind, but give yourself margin,” Bouchard said. “We can’t stress that enough. A little bit of extra time will go a long way to destress your experience as you travel this Thanksgiving.”
Officials also advised booking airport parking well in advance, online.
“We’re expecting to be near or at capacity across all of our parking,” Bouchard said. “So booking your parking online will ensure and guarantee you a spot in your preferred garage.”
The airport said if you’re using rideshare like Uber or Lyft or don’t have any checked luggage, you can use the Blue Express Curbside for drop off and pick up to make your process quicker.
“Irrespective of what airlines you’re flying,” Bouchard said. “If you just have carry-on bags, those drives will be your fastest way in and out of the airport.”
The airport said it is watching a potential government shutdown, but that shouldn’t impact fliers.
“For our TSA, CBP, and FAA staff, they are essential employees, and so they’re going to be here,” Bouchard explained. “Whether there’s a government shutdown or not.”
TPA said its typical two busiest days are the Wednesday before and the Sunday after Thanksgiving. On those days, it anticipates anywhere from 84,000 to 87,000 visitors.