Local airports are preparing for an influx of travelers this upcoming Christmas weekend.
The American Automobile Association (AAA) estimates that more than 7 million people in the U.S. will fly to their holiday destination. That’s a 13 percent increase compared to 2021 when approximately 6.29 million people traveled by air.
Santa Barbara Airport Marketing Supervisor Angi Daus said they are expecting record-breaking numbers of travelers, so planning ahead is key for a smooth trip especially, because pilot shortages continue to impact flight schedules.
“This year, people are really spreading out their travel, so we’re already seeing busy days but typically our busy days are Thursday, Friday sometimes even Wednesday,” Daus said. “The wait lines at the TSA might be 20-30 minutes depending on if you don’t have pre-check.”
Daus recommends the following tips:
- Arrive 2 hours early.
- Download your boarding pass on your phone.
- Plan ahead for parking.
- Consider carpooling or ride-share services.
Although face coverings are not required at the Santa Barbara Airport nor at the San Luis Obispo Airport, the CDC does recommend them while using indoor public transportation.