arrive early, prepare for long lines

AUSTIN (KXAN) – If you’re planning to leave Austin for the Thanksgiving vacation this year, be prepared to queue at the airport.

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport officials say they expect a “much busier-than-usual terminal experience” throughout the holiday travel period – Friday, November 19 through Monday November 29.

Waiting times are expected to be particularly long early in the morning, especially for passengers traveling before 9 a.m.

The airport has already registered a record number of passengers last month. More than 35,000 people passed through AUS on the Monday following F1 weekend.

Passengers are encouraged to arrive at the airport at least three hours in advance for all flights, even if you have TSA PreCheck and Clear. Security checkpoints open at 3:30 a.m., with PreCheck available at checkpoints 1 and 2.

In order to facilitate movement, airport officials say passengers can be dropped off on the upper and lower sidewalks. The lower level is generally reserved for arriving passengers only.

Parking options should fill up quickly, so passengers should plan ahead. The blue and red garages have limited online reservations. You can book a space and check the availability of the parking lot in real time here.

Passengers requiring wheelchair assistance are requested to contact their airline directly before arriving at AUS.

Airport officials are also reminding travelers that face masks are still required inside AUS and other airports. The requirement is in place until January 18, 2022.

Nationally, the TSA expects Thanksgiving trips to be on par with 2019, when a record 26 million passengers and crew passed through airport screening during the 11 day period around Thanksgiving.

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