19:13 PM

The holidays are upon us! Here are 5 tips to make your TPA travels more joyous

After a busy Thanksgiving period that saw record passenger numbers, Tampa International Airport is ramping up for a very active Christmas and New Year’s holiday travel period. Beginning this upcoming weekend and lasting through the middle of the first week of January, TPA will see several days with more than 75,000 arriving and departing passengers – a more than 30,000 daily passenger increase compared to the same period in 2020.

Got plans to fly through TPA this holiday season? Here are five tips to make your travel experience as smooth as possible.

1. Book your parking online to reserve a space. During Thanksgiving week, TPA’s three garages were packed, with brief closures during peak periods when they reached capacity. Booking your parking online ensures you’ll have a space in the garage of your choosing, plus it saves you money if you book in advance. To reserve a parking space, go to TPA’s easy online parking reservation system. And to make things easier on those who need to park for travel purposes, drivers picking up passengers should use the Cell Phone Waiting Lot instead of the Short Term Garage when waiting for arrivals.

2. Use the new Blue Express Curbsides for easy in, easy out. If you don’t need to check your luggage at the airline ticket counters and you’ve already downloaded your mobile boarding pass, the Blue Express Curbsides are for you. Have your ride follow the signage to Express and enjoy bypassing the Ticketing Level as you head straight to the Transfer Level to hop on your shuttle and reach your gate more quickly. When you return, it’s just as easy. As you arrive and get to the Main Terminal, head to the Blue Express Curbsides to have your Uber, Lyft or ride pick you up, avoiding the more congested curbs outside of Baggage Claim. Here’s how it works.

3. Go digital. TPA now has several touchless and convenient options to use throughout your journey, including the boarding pass scanning e-gates that allow you on the shuttles, and if arriving internationally through Customs, download the Mobile Passport app for quicker processing. At Tampa International Airport, you can now order from any of your favorite TPA restaurants via an app – regardless of what gate you’re using when you’re traveling – and have it delivered to you, similar to Uber Eats. You can also avoid lines by ordering ahead and picking up at the restaurant or counter. Download the Grab app to use the TPA to Go service.

4. Arrive at the Airport at least two hours early. Tampa International Airport is known for having short and sweet TSA checkpoint lines but the holiday season can be the exception. During that time, not only are there more travelers making their way through the ticketing lines and checkpoints, but many of them are traveling for the first time in several months, or even years, because of the pandemic. Be patient, get to the Airport early, and relax with a snack, coffee or drink if you have time to spare. For those who are not frequent travelers, be sure to check TSA’s prohibited items list to avoid slowdowns during security screening. Remember, while arriving early is always the best approach, the earliest our TSA checkpoints open is 4 a.m.

5. Check with your airline and monitor @FlyTPA on Twitter for any last-minute changes. While all airlines and airport partners are doing everything they can to ensure a problem-free holiday travel season, weather, computer issues and other unexpected issues can arise with little more than a moment’s notice. Always double-check with your airline before your departure to make sure there are no schedule changes, and in the case of widespread delays or cancellations, Tampa International Airport will help spread the word on Twitter.

 For more on what’s happening at TPA, visit https://news.tampaairport.com/.