TPA to open first-in-the-U.S. express curbsides
Tampa International Airport will soon debut the new Blue Express Curbsides dedicated exclusively for passengers without checked bags, making TPA the first airport in the country to launch this innovative feature for its passengers.
The eight Blue Express Curbside lanes, expected to open Nov. 16 in time for the busy Thanksgiving holiday period, will allow passengers to get to and from their gates faster, bypassing the ticketing or bag claim levels, and improving the overall passenger experience.
"Passenger needs and expectations are changing," said TPA CEO Joe Lopano. "Our Blue Express Curbsides will better serve our guests and enhance an already smooth experience. On top of that, we’ll also be making our Main Terminal more efficient, decongesting busy areas and helping us prolong the life of our facilities.”
The new curbsides are located on the airport’s Blue Side and will be available to passengers flying on American Airlines, Delta Airlines, United Airlines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Copa Airlines, Cayman Airways and Swift Air.
Eight additional express curbsides will also be added to the airport’s Red Side as part of the expansion, doubling TPA’s curbside capacity. The Red Side Curbs are expected to be complete in early 2025.
"We take great pride in our legacy of innovation at TPA. This revolutionary project further cements our place as industry leaders, promoting smart growth that will translate into a positive economic impact for our region," said Lopano.
The new Blue Express Curbsides means that some of TPA’s guests will face an additional decision when driving into Tampa International Airport.
As of Nov. 16, those dropping off passengers on the Blue Side will need to choose the Express Curbside lanes if they’re not checking a bag, or the standard, full-service curbside lanes. Passengers will then take the elevator, escalator or stairs up one level to the transfer level of the Main Terminal. Drivers picking up travelers without a checked bag will choose the Express Pick-up Curbside lanes (arrivals).
TPA has installed extensive signage throughout the roadways in advance of the curbside grand opening.
"It’s pretty straightforward: If you’re checking bags, use the traditional full-service curbs. If you’re not, go to express," said John Tiliacos, TPA’s Executive Vice President of Operations and Customer Service. "We believe guests will pick up on the change quickly and appreciate this feature, but we’ll also do everything in our power to make sure the transition is as smooth as possible."
The Blue Express Curbsides are one of the signature projects of TPA’s Master Plan Phase 2 expansion, which also includes roadway widening, construction of a new office building/atrium to enable further growth, and the addition of a new taxiway bridge for planes.
Overall, construction on Phase 2 began in late 2018 and will extend through 2025. The total program budget is approximately $544 million.