Nov 15, 2022 - News

Tampa International Airport braces for Thanksgiving travel rush

Illustration of a turkey pulling a suitcase.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Tampa International Airport is about to be stuffed as people make their way in and out of Tampa Bay for Turkey Day.

Driving the news: While traveler numbers are projected to be slightly lower than last year's record, airport spokesperson Emily Nipps told Axios that TPA will feel just as busy, especially with limited parking space due to ongoing construction in the long- and short-term garages.

By the numbers: The airport is expecting 75,000-80,000 passengers per day from Nov. 17-28, with about 725,000 people traveling through the airport during that period. Last year the airport saw a record 800,000 Thanksgiving travelers.

  • The busiest days, as always, will be the weekends before and after Thanksgiving.

Why it matters: There's going to be longer lines at checkpoints, ticket counters and eateries, Nipps warned.

The big picture: Experts warn that many of the factors driving up the costs of Thanksgiving meals this year are also fueling higher airfare prices ahead of the holiday season.

  • Priceline CEO Brett Keller told the Washington Post that domestic round-trip airfare prices are 35% higher than 2021.
  • "The prices are just going to keep going up from here," Keller warned.

Be smart: If you are traveling this Thanksgiving, Nipps recommends travelers get to the airport two to three hours early, starting this Thursday.

  • "People are used to getting a quick and easy experience at TPA, but it's better to get here early than push your luck and get here at the last minute."

More tips: Use the cell phone lot and Blue Express Curbsides when picking people up, book parking online at least a day ahead of time and avoid waiting in line for food with TPA to go.

The bottom line: TPA is fully staffed and prepared, Nipps said, but it's still the busiest time of the year.


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Tampa Bay.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Tampa Bay stories

No stories could be found

Tampa Baypostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Tampa Bay.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more