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Austin airport tells travelers to arrive early if they're flying for Christmas or New Year's

The peak travel period for Christmas and New Year's is expected to start this weekend, so travelers are encouraged to arrive early.

AUSTIN, Texas — Following a record-breaking Thanksgiving travel season, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) is expecting to stay busy in the coming weeks with Christmas and New Year's right around the corner. 

AUS officials said this isn't usually the busiest time of the year, but is still advising travelers to plan ahead if they plan on flying in the coming weeks. 

The peak travel period is expected between Dec. 17 through Jan. 4 of next year. With that, AUS is advising travelers arrive early and allow plenty of time to move through the airport, especially in the mornings before 9 a.m.

The airport reported major delays and a few cancelations Saturday, caused by early-morning storms. 

On Sunday, officials said they expect 27,256 passengers, almost triple from 2020's numbers. 

RELATED: Austin airport faces delays as holiday travel begins to pick up

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is asking travelers to arrive at least two hours early for domestic flights and three hours early for international flights, according to a release from AUS. Security screening checkpoints open at 3:30 a.m. with TSA PreCheck and Clear screening available at Checkpoints 1 and 2 west. 

The new security checkpoint, Checkpoint 2 East, is also now open near Southwest ticketing for all passengers going through general screening. 

"Thanksgiving was busy, but it went pretty smoothly," said Bryce Dubee, Austin Airport spokesperson. "Since then, we've continued to add more staff as well as added a new security checkpoint in the terminal. So there are now four security checkpoints that can get you to any of our gates within the Barbara Jordan terminal."

Dubee said they usually open up this extra checkpoint in the morning when it's busiest.

Travelers being dropped off in the morning are free to use both the upper and lower curbsides to help ease traffic. 

The TSA recommends those traveling with gifts leave them unwrapped as they may need to be opened for inspection. Additionally, firearms are prohibited at all passenger screening checkpoints and in any carry-on luggage, and possession of them may result in arrest, according to the release. 

For a full list of banned and permitted items in carry-on baggage, visit the TSA website.

AUS also reminded travelers to drink responsibly while in the terminal, and that once they board their flight, federal law prohibits passengers from consuming any alcohol that isn't served by a flight attendant.

"We know a lot of folks are going to be celebrating," added Dubee. "It is kind of that very celebratory time of year, but we are just kind of asking everybody if you are going to be in the terminal, consuming a little alcohol ... you cannot bring that on your flight."

Check for parking ahead of arriving, as parking options are expected to fill up quickly. Get a real-time look at parking availability here.

Allegiant and Frontier flights operate at the South Terminal and passengers should park at the South Terminal, according to AUS. All other airlines operate from the airport's main Barbara Jordan Terminal, off of SH 71. The South Terminal is a separate facility accessed from Burleson Road, between US 183 South and FM 973.


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