TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Tampa International Airport recently expanded its All Access program, giving more people the opportunity to enjoy all the airport has to offer without the stress of getting to a plane on time.
The free program launched in May and recently went from 100 spots available on Saturdays to 150 spots.
TPA spokeswoman Emily Nipps told 8 On Your Side’s Daisy Ruth that the airport could actually handle more people in the All Access program.
“It’s a program that really allows people who don’t have tickets and don’t have any flight plans to come to the airport, experience some of the new shops and restaurants we’ve opened in the last three years,” Nipps said.
“We heard from a lot of people who were excited when we told them we were opening a Ulele and a Goody Goody and some of these local brands here, restaurants, but they were bummed out that they couldn’t actually come and try them because they may not fly on a particular airline or they may not travel at all,” Nipps added. “They may not have the budget to travel that year. So we thought this would be a good way for people to come out and try some of these concepts, go back and tell their neighbors and friends about it.”
The airport is also looking at options for other days, as Saturday is currently the only day available for All Access visits.
Nipps explained TPA wants to give back to the community, and this free program is one way to do so.
“So this was one way to kind of invite the public back to experience the airport and make airports fun again. There was a good period of time where airports were kind of scary places and we really have seen a culture shift in all airports now that they’ve become more of a destination,” she said.
Everyone who participates in the All Access program must go through security like any other TPA passenger.
After a person signs up online, their name is run through the federal government’s Terrorist Screening Center’s No Fly List for the safety of all passengers and guests at the airport.
Guests can arrive for the All Access program any time between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. on the Saturday of their approved visit.
According to the airport, visitors can shop at the duty-free stores at Airsides E and F, but can’t purchase tobacco or alcohol products.
Nipps urges those interested in signing up for an All Access Saturday plan in advance, as spaces fill up quickly.
“So if you are considering coming, it’s good to try and plan a couple months ahead of time. We tend to book up about two or three months out,” she said. “You can still find, usually, different airsides over the next few weeks, there are some slots. But if you definitely have a place in mind that you want to go to, maybe a special date or a special occasion, definitely book ahead of time, give it about two or three months ahead of time.”
You can find more information to help you plan your next trip to Tampa International Airport via the All Access program below.
-It is free to sign up and participate in the All Access program, but bring your wallet to shop and eat!
-All-Access passes are available every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. but are limited to 25 people per airside. Guests can visit one airside per visit and guests under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
Travel time to TPA (links will update to current traffic conditions, weekday afternoon conditions listed):
– From Downtown Tampa: 11 minutes
– From Brandon: 28 minutes
– From New Port Richey: 42 minutes
– From Lakeland: 49 minutes
– From Bradenton: 47 minutes
– From Orlando: 1 hour, 28 minutes