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Tampa International Airport Ready for Busiest Thanksgiving Travel Week Ever

The holiday season is here, and Tampa International Airport is ready for what is expected to be its busiest Thanksgiving ever.

An estimated 80,000 passengers per day are expected to pass through Tampa International Airport (TPA) during the 11-day Thanksgiving holiday period that started November 16th and goes to November 26th.

According to officials, nearly 80,000 passengers a day on average are expected to pass through TPA for this holiday. Central Florida passenger projections suggest the two busiest days will likely be the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday following Thanksgiving. An estimated 84,000 to 87,000 passengers are expected to pass through the Tampa airport on each of those two days.

With the holiday surge of passengers converging on TPA, the Airport’s parking team says some garages may reach capacity, so travelers are urged to book parking in advance on-line.

New this year, guests who are using ride-share apps like Uber and Lyft for pick up after arriving on the Blue Side will be directed to use the Blue Express Curbsides to relieve congestion at the Blue baggage claim level. Passengers using Uber and Lyft on the Red Side can either use the Red Arrivals drive or take the elevator up and over to the Blue Express Curbsides, where there is less traffic and passengers can be picked up more quickly.

Below are some critical tips to make one of the Tampa International Airport’s busiest times of the year a more smooth and easy experience for all travelers:

PLAN AHEAD FOR PARKING: It is very likely that TPA parking garages could reach capacity at various points throughout the holiday season. For that reason, TPA is encouraging passengers to book parking online in advance of travel, which is the only way to fully guarantee a space when you arrive. The Airport offers discounted pricing in the Short Term, Long Term and Economy garages. Online bookings also help TPA anticipate demand and manage its garage space availability, prioritizing those who have reservations.

CHOOSE EXPRESS: Traveling with carry-on luggage only and don’t need to go to the Ticketing level? The Blue Express Curbsides are an easy, breezy alternative to the regular Departures and Arrivals curbs to get in and out of the Main Terminal more easily. Drivers can follow the signage to Blue Express for a much less crowded drop-off and pick-up experience. TPA’s Blue Express Curbsides are also where ride-share apps pick up arriving passengers on the Airport’s Blue Side. Passengers on the Red Side  – where the Red Express Curbsides are currently under construction – can meet their Uber or Lyft outside of the Red baggage claim area.

ARRIVE EARLY: While most passengers can normally speed through the Airport and get to their gate in minutes, the holiday travel season and huge crowds can often lead to longer lines and unanticipated delays. For that reason, passengers are encouraged to arrive at the Airport no later than two hours before departure, or three if you’re traveling internationally.

CHECK YOUR POCKETS: Jams and jellies, cranberry sauce, gravy, bottles of wine and other Thanksgiving treats are commonly confiscated at TSA checkpoints, along with the usual prohibited items such as knives and firearms. To keep things flowing smoothly through screening, be sure to check your pockets and carry-on luggage before leaving the house.

SKIP THE LINES: You already know you’re going to need a snack or a caffeine fix once you get to TPA. Why not order ahead and have your latte or burger waiting for you when you arrive? Customers can use either TPA To Go or the Starbucks mobile app to order and pay, then swing by the counter and pick up the goods without standing in line.

Robust travel to Central Florida will also make Orlando International Airport (MCO) one of the nation’s busiest holiday gateways this Thanksgiving season.

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