Orlando Airport expects 2 million Thanksgiving Travellers in 12-day surge

Friday, November 17, 2023


Thanksgiving travel

Orlando International Airport anticipates a bustling Thanksgiving travel period with over 2 million passengers expected to pass through the airport during the 12-day period, starting on Friday.

This marks a substantial 17% increase compared to the previous year. The CEO of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, Kevin Thibault, attributes this growth to the operational status of Terminal C.

Thibault highlights that the peak travel day is predicted to be the following Saturday, November 25, with approximately 187,000 passengers moving through all three terminals. The Saturday before, November 18, is expected to see around 186,500 travellers passing through Orlando International Airport.

However, the surge in travellers necessitates expanded parking facilities. Thibault mentions the transformation of the front of the train station building into new surface parking lots. Two of the three lots are set to open next week, with the third lot expected to be operational by the Christmas holiday. Additionally, emergency overflow parking and more paid parking options have been introduced, providing about 2,000 more parking spots compared to the previous year.

Senior Vice President of Operations, Marquez Griffin, advises locals picking up visitors to plan accordingly. Griffin emphasizes the TSA’s 3.4 oz liquid limit and encourages travellers to keep this in mind, especially if carrying homemade items like grandma’s special gravy.

The airport officials recommend adhering to the 3-2-1 rule: arriving at the ticket counter three hours before the flight, the TSA checkpoint two hours early, and the gate one hour before departure. The Orlando International Airport app offers real-time information on parking availability.

With a stroke of luck, McKinley Boyer arrives ahead of the Thanksgiving rush but anticipates the return trip to be more hectic. She expresses the need to be at the airport exceptionally early.

Besides air travel, road congestion is expected to rise. AAA representative Mark Jenkins anticipates approximately 71,000 more drivers on Florida’s roads compared to the previous year. Orlando is identified as the top destination for Thanksgiving, making the roads busier, especially with both Floridian and out-of-state travellers.

Amid the bustling travel season, some travelers express gratitude for arriving early, avoiding potential congestion during this peak travel period. As Thanksgiving approaches, the combination of air and road travel is expected to create a substantial movement of people in and out of Orlando.

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