Posted on March 18, 2013 at 6:30 AM
Monday, Mar 18 at 11:21 AM
AUSTIN -- Long lines are growing at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. Tens of thousands of people are heading out of Austin all at once.
Security officials stretched rope lines out the front doors around 6 a.m. Monday to make room for the expanding lines at security checkpoints.
"Three years ago it took me by surprise," said Austin resident Dean Rogers, "I didn't know it was going to happen and I walked up and the line was one hour outside of the airport."
The rush picked up Sunday as the annual South by Southwest Festival wrapped for the year, but airport officials say the biggest crowds will pass through the terminal on Monday.
"I had no idea what to expect," said SXSW visitor Patrick Barry, "I think it'll be okay. If you get to the airport on time you'll get through it."
Between the hours of 4 a.m. and 8 a.m. ABIA officials announced more than 6,200 passengers had departed.
Waits at the security checkpoint lines grew to about 36 minutes. Airport officials are urging people to arrive two hours ahead of their scheduled flight.
"After a week of getting three hours of sleep every night it's kind of tough to wake up at 5 a.m. when you don't even go to sleep at 5 a.m. most nights,” said SXSW visitor Tyler Johnson. “It's definitely tough, but you gotta do what you gotta do. That's South By for you."
Departing passengers are encouraged to check their flight status before heading out.
As passengers depart there will be one last taste of South by Southwest sounds. ABIA is hosting its 14th annual SXSW Music Showcase. As a final farewell to fans performers will play in the terminal. The first show begins at 1 p.m. The music will end at 5:30 p.m.