Airport preparing for holiday travel rush

11/16/2012 6:52 AM

11/16/2012 6:53 AM

If you haven’t booked a flight out of Wichita on Thanksgiving Day, you still can.

The busiest days of travel over the Thanksgiving holiday will be Friday and Nov. 25, said Valerie Wise, Wichita’s Air Service & Business Development Manager, at a news conference Thursday at Mid-Continent Airport.

Nearly 18,000 people are expected to depart from Wichita’s airport over the next week, Wise said. That’s part of the 3.1 million people nationally who will travel by air.

Many more will travel by car during the same period. AAA predicts 43.6 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more on the nation’s highways during the Thanksgiving holiday week.

Those who travel on the highway will spend about the same on gas as they did last year. In Wichita, gas is selling at $3.19 a gallon; Kansas City area, $3.13; Nebraska, $3.38; Oklahoma, $3.15 and in Colorado, $3.44, according to Jim Hanni, public affairs executive vice president for the AAA Allied Group Kansas Region.

Wise and Keith Osborn, federal security director with the Transportation Security Administration at the airport, offered traveled tips Thursday to minimize hassles at the airport. Tips included putting contact information both inside and outside your bags, and making sure your bags meet the airlines weight limits.

Travelers are encouraged to arrive at the airport at least two hours in advance and be at their gate within 30 minutes of departure. The airport has expanded its Park & Ride lot, which costs $6 a day and offers a free shuttle to the airport. And, if picking up guests, people are encouraged to use the Cell Phone lot where travelers, once they have collected their bags, can wait.

Travelers are asked to review the TSA’s permitted and prohibited items at www.tsa.gov/traveler-information.

Passengers are encouraged not to travel with wrapped packages. Food items such as pies and cakes are permitted through the TSA checkpoint but be aware they may require inspection.

For up-to-date flight and travel information, go to the airport’s website, www.flywichita.com.

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