Austin airport busy as travelers head out for Thanksgiving



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Posted on November 25, 2009 at 12:42 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 25 at 7:16 PM

Thousands of people Wednesday crowded into Austin Bergstrom International Airport. The Thanksgiving holiday is the busiest time of the year for the airline industry.

"It's mayhem, but it's controlled mayhem," said Madlyn Hale, ABIA passenger.

ABIA officials estimate 17,000 passengers will depart from the airport on the Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving and again on Sunday afterward.

Thousands of others will fly into the airport.

“Definitely worth it to be with family. It should be a lot of fun,” said Sumi Chanda-Kim, ABIA passenger.

A majority of the crowd arrives either early in the morning or between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. in the afternoon. By 6 a.m. Wednesday, the check-in lines snaked through every aisle.

The airport opened three TSA security check points and staffed additional employees on standby.

“It actually was great. It was very well organized. When we pulled into parking they had people leading you into parking spaces. The bus was waiting. [We] filled it up, and they had plenty of people working at the check-in and then through the lines, too. I was pleasantly surprised,” said Sherry Perrin, ABIA passenger.

The airport is beating national estimations from AAA.  AAA’s 2009 holiday travel estimations show about 2.3 million will fly over the holiday. In 2008, 2.5 million flew to their Thanksgiving destination. ABIA officials say the airport is on track to see the same crowd this year as last.