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Construction is nearing completion on the new Blue Express Curbside lanes at Tampa International Airport. Photo courtesy of Tampa International Airport

Tampa International Airport is unveiling the first "express curbside" concept in the United States in two weeks.

What's new: The Blue Express Curbside lanes, between the long-term garage and the main terminal, will allow passengers with a digital ticket and carry-on to jump on a dedicated escalator starting Nov. 16.

  • The new express route skips the curbside luggage chaos and those ticket-counter traffic jams to deliver passengers directly to the gate shuttles.

Why it matters: The eight express lanes — four for arrivals, four for departures — will allow the airport to increase capacity as it nears the start of COVID-delayed construction on Airside D.

  • Arriving passengers who haven't checked bags no longer have to descend into the baggage claim area and can instead take an escalator right to their ride.

What they're saying: "It's part of the history of the airport's legacy and innovation, these curbs," TIA VP of Planning and Design Jeff Siddle told the Tampa Bay Business Journal. "They will be the first anywhere in the United States at any airport.

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Go deeper

Nov 23, 2021 - Axios Twin Cities

MSP Airport predicts big bump in Thanksgiving travel

Expand chart
Data: Metropolitan Airports Commission; Chart: Thomas Oide/Axios

Airport officials in the Twin Cities are already seeing an increase in Thanksgiving travelers this year.

Driving the news: Nearly 80,000 travelers were screened at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport checkpoints between Friday and Sunday, a 110% increase from the same weekend last year.

DFW braces for holiday travel surge

Photo: Angus Mordant for Bloomberg via Getty Images

Officials at DFW Airport expect more than 2.3 million passengers to pass through during the Thanksgiving travel holiday.

  • That's a 70% increase over the number of flyers during the same time last year, and 95% of the volume the airport experienced in 2019.

Why it matters: Both Fort Worth-based American Airlines and Dallas-based Southwest Airlines experienced weekends of mass cancellations this fall, when the number of travelers was a fraction of what they'll be this week.

Biden: Fight against Omicron won't include "shutdowns or lockdowns"

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden on Monday said that the new coronavirus variant, Omicron, is "a cause for concern, not a cause for panic."

Driving the news: Biden said later this week the administration will be releasing a strategy on how "we're going to fight COVID this winter. Not with shutdowns or lockdowns, but with more widespread vaccinations, boosters, testing and more."

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