Brace for air travel hell in Austin and beyond
Austin airport officials are expecting a record-breaking summer for air travel, echoing warnings from airlines, national aviation officials and the Transportation Security Administration.
Driving the news: Flying is shaping up to be an absolute nightmare, Axios' Alex Fitzpatrick writes.
- A record number of travelers will likely pass through the country's airports this summer, TSA administrator David Pekoske told Bloomberg.
- Plus, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport officials told Axios that they're expecting a record-breaking summer, starting in mid-May.
Why it matters: It's unusual for all these powers that be to hint so loudly that we're in for a rough few months — and travelers would be wise to heed their warnings.
- The latest Southwest Airlines snafu, where data connection issues briefly halted departures, is a reminder of how quickly a relatively small problem can cause big headaches.
By the numbers: AUS is expected to regularly see upward of 30,000 departing travelers a day, and some days could even reach over 40,000, per airport officials.
- It's already been a busy year, with three of the airport's five busiest days ever occurring in March, as South by Southwest and spring break converged.
- Last year's U.S. Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas brought in the record for the most passengers in a single day — 43,177 on Oct. 25.
What's happening: AUS continues to fill staffing vacancies and support recruitment efforts, a spokesperson said.
- Airport officials are also working to improve the baggage handling system, and — through a partnership with TSA — travelers can expect new screening equipment and additional security lanes at checkpoints.
The bottom line: If you have plans to fly this summer, get to the airport early, prepare for delays and cancellations, and have a Plan B — and maybe C and D — ready.
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