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Central Coast airports anticipating a busy Memorial Day weekend

Air travel is expected to pick up this year during the Memorial Day weekend. Local airports recommend arriving two hours before your flight is scheduled to leave.
Posted at 6:27 PM, May 26, 2023

The long-awaited Memorial Day weekend is finally here.

“I was going to go visit my mom. Happy 60th miss Lisa,” said Eugene Radcliff, who is traveling to North Carolina. “My beautiful niece is enjoying her Memorial Day; she's going to be off to get ready to graduate. ”

“Murph workout and then, probably have a dinner with the whole CrossFit crew,” said Nolan Jenkins, who traveled to San Luis Obispo.

Nationwide, Memorial Day is expected to be a busy one. The American Automobile Association (AAA) estimates nearly 3.4 million passengers will fly to their destinations in the U.S., which is an 11% increase compared to 2022.

“This weekend will be a test of the system,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

It comes at a time when there’s a national shortage of air traffic controllers, and there are always possible issues with weather events.

That’s what happened to a couple of travelers flying out of the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport.

“I am moving to Raleigh, so I got a one-way ticket through United stopping in Denver, and it got pushed back,” explained Meghan Wall, who is traveling to North Carolina this weekend. “My flight I won't make it, so I'm staying an extra day, which should be fine.”

“Unfortunately, the weather is causing an issue, so the second flight, we're not going to make that,” added Radcliff. “We have to rebook. ”

Locally, airports are preparing for an influx of travelers. Santa Barbara Airport officials are expecting more than 2,000 passengers per day this weekend.

San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport said that so far in 2023, the airport is seeing an upward trend of 25% more travelers when compared to 2022. Friday afternoon was pretty quiet with travelers not really seeing issues locally.

“It's been really good, I mean, yeah, this airport's amazing,” said Jenkins. “It's super small, too, so it's just ideal to kind of walk straight in and it only takes like five minutes to get to the gate. ”

Despite the hurdles for some, passengers like Wall are trying to make the most out of their holiday weekend.

“I travel for work, so this happens all the time, like weather,” said Wall. “You just have to kind of do you and just make it work. ”

Just to play it safe, local airports recommend arriving two hours before your flight is scheduled to leave.

A couple of other good tips include keeping track of airline notifications and planning ahead if you are parking at the airport.