Airport braces for holiday hustle and bustle - FOX 13 News

Airport braces for holiday hustle and bustle

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

This is a very busy week at Tampa International Airport. The busy season for holiday travel has started and will be for the next two weeks. Mix that with a blizzard in the north, and you've got delays.

"I was supposed to leave at 6 but I had a delay and then it was a fiasco trying to get my next connection because I missed my connection," said Michael Thomas, who was delayed by two hours.

Planes fly in like clockwork to Tampa. It's the other cities causing complications. Thomas flew Denver to Atlanta to Tampa. A route like that could be very affected by the blizzard brewing up north. Some airlines are already allowing free flight changes for the next few days.

"Our major destinations from Tampa are going to be in the Northeast and the Midwest, and of course, Atlanta because it's a major hub, so it could potentially impact our flights. Even flights not necessarily traveling to those cities could be impacted," explained Christina Osborn with Tampa International Airport.

If you're picking up a passenger at TIA watch the boards and airline websites for delays, and don't linger curbside. There's no more parking there, other than a very quick pause for pick-up.

"Usually there's like three-deep of cars, and it's really hard to get in and pick them up, so I'm glad they are doing away with it, frankly," said Annette Baesel.

Instead, drivers will be directed to the cell phone waiting lot or encouraged to park free in the garage for an hour. That's what the Freemans did for a personal welcome.

"Surprise them at the gate, hug, say, 'I love you.' It's an awesome time, much better than waiting at the curb," said Wes Freeman.

His dad agreed after landing in Tampa for the first time in months.

"Always looking forward to coming home for the holidays," Freeman said.

We are in peak travel times, so you may want to increase that one hour early arrival up to 90 minutes for a holiday flight.

If you're picking up, there's something else new to talk about other than the curbside change. For 30 days, TIA will be hosting food truck vendors in the cell phone waiting lot.

Remember, you can always check your flight status here: http://www.tampaairport.com/flights/index.asp

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