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February 16, 2012

Get to airport two hours before early-morning flights, Wichita officials say

If you don’t want to miss your early-morning flight at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport, get there two hours early.

If you don’t want to miss your early-morning flight at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport, get there two hours early.

That’s the message airport officials are sending as more flights are departing between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m.

“The airlines’ schedules have been adjusted a little bit,” explained Valerie Wise, air service and business development manager at the airport. “We’ve got 12 flights between 6 and 7. If people are getting here an hour before their flight, they might miss it.”

Those 12 flights offer 1,105 seats. Wait time at the security checkpoint between 5:30 a.m. and 6 a.m. has been averaging about 21 minutes.

“That’s not normal,” Wise said. “It’s usually a lot less than that.”

The Transportation Security Administration checkpoint opens at 4 a.m. That’s when people should arrive for 6 a.m. flights, Wise said.

Wise didn’t have an estimate for how many people have missed flights, but she said “I think people think ‘This is Wichita, it’s a small airport.’ In the past, they may have come here with plenty of time. There were times when the line would be long depending on the day, but I don’t think we’ve had 12 flights before in an hour.”

Staff at the TSA checkpoint are working as fast as they can, she said.

Wise also recommends that people check in online before coming to the airport. If they do that and don’t have a bag to check, they’ll get through faster.

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