MIAMI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, FLA. (WSVN) - Passenger traffic has gone up in the last 30 days at Miami International Airport, making this Memorial Day weekend the busiest it has ever been.
The airport is averaging 150,000 passengers per day, compared to 126,000 per day during its record-setting year in 2019.
“There is pent-up demand for a while. People are ready to get back to traveling,” said MIA spokesperson Greg Chin.
Chin said that over the last few weeks, they’ve had a significant increase in passenger traffic compared to the same time before the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The last 30 days, especially, we’ve been up almost 20% compared to 2019,” said Chin.
On Thursday, some parking garages at the airport began to fill up, as many travelers start the long weekend early.
Some passengers 7News spoke with said they are hoping to the beat the even larger crowds expected over the next few days.
“Perhaps tomorrow is going to be crowded and not so fun to travel, so we decided to travel today,” said traveler Maria Sarmiento.
Travelers are advised to plan on being dropped off by friends or family, a ride-share service, taxi or Miami-Dade Transit’s Orange Line, as MIA is expecting the parking garages to fill to capacity.
MIA provided tips to remember for travelers:
· Arrive at MIA at least three hours before a domestic flight and three and a half hours before an international flight to give yourself enough time for the check-in and security checkpoint process.
· Passengers are also encouraged to do their airline check-in online before arriving at MIA.
· To expedite TSA checkpoint screening, wear easily removable shoes, follow the 3-1-1 rule for liquids or gels in your carry-on and avoid accessories that resemble weapons. More TSA tips are available at the TSA website.
· Find the fastest TSA checkpoint for your flight online with MIA’s Queue Analyzer, for real-time updates on checkpoint wait times.
· Avoid waiting in line to order food and drinks with MIA2GO, MIA’s mobile ordering service that lets you quickly browse menus, order and pay before making your contactless pick-up at restaurants throughout the airport.
· On-site COVID-19 testing (Antigen, PCR, and Rapid PCR) is available at two convenient MIA locations. Costs vary depending on the type of test.
· MIA’s cellphone waiting lot, which features 60 parking spaces for non-commercial users picking up travelers, is located just off LeJeune Road and Northwest 31st Street, accessible from LeJeune Road heading north or south.
· If traveling internationally, eligible travelers can use the free, secure Mobile Passport Control app to submit their passport and Customs declaration information on their smartphone or tablet and avoid completing a paper form or using an automated passport control kiosk.
At Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, parking garages have also started to fill up.
With both of South Florida’s largest airports expecting a packed weekend, officials are reminding everyone to be patient.
“Give yourself enough time, keep track of your flight, of your status and your itinerary and know exactly where you need to go,” said Chin.
The Federal Aviation Administration would also like to remind travelers of the 1,375 unruly passenger incidents nationwide this year as of Thursday.
The FAA noted that unruly passengers face civil penalties up to $37,000, being banned from flying and potential federal prosecution. Intoxicated people are not allowed to board the aircraft, and Miami-Dade Police will remove any intoxicated traveler from MIA. FAA regulations also prohibit drinking alcohol aboard a plane that has not been served by the airline.
At the first sign of any unruly behavior, travelers are advised to dial 911.
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