Posted on November 21, 2012 at 11:27 AM
Wednesday, Nov 21 at 11:28 AM
At Austin-Bergstrom International Airport passengers started flying out early Wednesday morning. ABIA is expecting some 36,000 passengers on Wednesday.
“I was very worried. I thought I was going to be late, but I came in and it looks pretty nice now,” said ABIA passenger Emile Nelson.
The airport opened its new fourth security checkpoint and the TSA staffed extra screeners at all checkpoints. According to ABIA spokesperson Jim Halbrook, the additions boosted the airport capacity by about 30 percent.
By 8 a.m. Wednesday nearly 5,500 passengers had gone through screening, but wait times stayed under 20 minutes. Back in July of this year, when about the same amount of passengers went through security, the wait times reached 48 minutes.
Passengers on Wednesday were surprised to find the lines moving fast.
“I’m just glad that it doesn’t look any worse. I think it’s gonna be a smooth trip but I’ll have a lot of waiting in between because I gave myself plenty of time,” said passenger Alice Marsel.
Airport officials are expecting another surge in passenger traffic between 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. and again from 3:30 p.m. to about 6 p.m. Passengers are urged to arrive two hours before their scheduled flight.
“It’s definitely worth it,” said ABIA passenger Jordan Calvert. “I haven’t been home since the semester started so I’m really looking forward to going home and seeing my parents and seeing my dog and my sister.”
Despite the airport surge, road traffic is expected to trump air traffic. Compared to the three million drivers, AAA estimates only about 200,000 Texans will fly over Thanksgiving.