TPA in high gear for busy week of Thanksgiving travel
As the holiday travel season heats up, Tampa International Airport is preparing to see as many as 75,000 to 80,000 passengers on peak days during the Thanksgiving period, one of its busiest times of the year.
Some days will see higher passenger numbers than during the pre-pandemic 2019 holiday period as travelers continue to book their first plane tickets in years. Overall, TPA expects an average of approximately 70,000 passengers a day over the 12-day holiday period, up from the daily average of approximately 55,000 passengers in recent months. The busiest days will be the Saturdays and Sundays before and after Thanksgiving.
Travelers and those picking them up should be aware that higher volumes could mean more road congestion, fewer parking spaces and longer lines upon arrival at TPA, particularly on peak weekend days. TPA has the following tips to help make the airport experience seamless for Thanksgiving flyers.
CHOOSE EXPRESS: Traveling with carry-on luggage only? The Blue Express Curbsides are an easy, breezy alternative to the regular Departures and Arrival curbs and allow those who don’t need to stop at the Ticketing or Baggage Claim levels to get in and out of the Main Terminal more easily and quickly. Drivers can follow the signage to Express for a much less crowded drop-off and pick-up experience.
PLAN AHEAD FOR PARKING: TPA offers online booking for parking, which has discounted pricing on its Short Term, Long Term and Economy garages, some of which may reach capacity during peak days. Online bookings also help TPA anticipate demand and manage its garage space availability, making parking life easier for everyone.
AVOID CIRCLING: Circling the roadways or lingering at the curbs is not allowed, so drivers picking up passengers should use the Cell Phone Waiting Lot, which has restrooms and free Wi-Fi, as well as info boards listing flight arrival times. Once a passenger is ready and at the curb, his or her driver can get there in a flash without adding unnecessary traffic to TPA’s roadways.
ARRIVE EARLY: While TPA has a reputation for being a quick and easy airport to navigate, holiday crowds can move at a different pace as a lot of first-time flyers, elderly travelers and families take to the skies. Plan to arrive at the Airport no later than two hours before departure, or three if you’re traveling internationally.
SKIP THE LINES: You already know you’re going to need a snack or a caffeine fix once you get to TPA. Why not order ahead and have your latte or burger waiting for you when you arrive? Customers can use either TPA To Go or the Starbucks mobile app to order and pay, then swing by the counter and pick up the goods without standing in line.
CHECK YOUR POCKETS: Jams and jellies, cranberry sauce, gravy, bottles of wine and other Thanksgiving treats are commonly confiscated at TSA checkpoints, along with the usual prohibited items such as knives and firearms. To keep things flowing smoothly through screening, be sure to check your pockets and carry-on luggage before leaving the house.