MIAMI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, FLA. (WSVN) - A busy holiday weekend has kicked off with parking garages filled to capacity at Miami International Airport and a heavy influx of travelers at South Florida airports, as airline and airport officials stress the importance of planning ahead.
Memorial Day weekend has arrived, which means that whether it’s business or pleasure, millions of Americans have packed their bags and are flying out.
However, travelers who drove themselves to MIA were confronted with an unexpected obstacle: no available parking.
“The garages are full,” said frustrated flyer Cesar Garcia.
“Full, everything is full,” said another frustrated flyer. “I don’t find parking, and my flight leaves in 10 minutes.”
MIA officials made it official on their Twitter account, confirming their parking garages have met maximum capacity.
“The garages are full, all of them. This is the third round. We’re going out back and forth, back and forth, three times already, and there’s no place to park,” said Garica.
Hours earlier, 7News cameras captured long lines at an MIA concourse.
Travelers who spoke with 7News were heading to the East Coast and the Midwest.
“I’m going to New York,” said a traveler.
“Boston,” said a traveler
“Back to St. Louis,” said another traveler.
According to AAA, an estimated three million people are expected to take to the skies, and officials at MIA have been preparing for the influx.
“We’re expecting 150,000 passengers to be at the airport every day this weekend,” said MIA spokesperson Greg Chin.
It would make it the busiest Memorial Day weekend MIA has ever seen.
Back to the parking troubles. Friday evening, before capacity was reached at MIA, cameras captured drivers struggling to find a parking spot before their flights.
“Driving around, no parking anywhere, drive around, drive around,” said a traveler looking for parking. “Went into Flamingo, couldn’t find anything, had to park at the top of the Dolphin Garage.”
Chin indicated travelers’ best option is to be dropped off at the airport.
“Your safest bet is being dropped off by a family member, by Uber, Lyft, public transportation, taxi. Try all of those different connections to the airport that you can take,” he said.
Officials recommend that travelers arrive at the airport at least three hours early for domestic flights, and three and a half hours for those heading to international destinations.
“We wanted to get here plenty early,” said a traveler.
Some travelers decided to be extra cautious and show up to their flight four hours early.
“There’s no reason not to get here early when I can,” said traveler Paul Hahn.
Officials at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport have geared up as well for the busy weekend and also recommend travelers to plan ahead.
Meanwhile, another 34.9 million Americans will travel by land, driving to their destinations despite the rising gas prices.
“It is what it is. We want to go on vacation,” said a traveler.
One way or another, people are finding a way to enjoy the long weekend, as well as remembering the reason they celebrate.
“We;re gonna go to a memorial service with my sister in New York, which we weren’t able to do it last year because of COVID,” said traveler Gertrudis Caro, “so we’re like trying to get back to normal.”
Travel experts said MIA is a top destination for travelers this Memorial Day weekend.
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