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How the holiday weekend and Elsa are factoring into air travel

Posted at 5:15 PM, Jul 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-03 17:15:21-04

FORT MYERS, Fla — Those planning to travel this Fourth of July weekend have more than just a destination on their minds, with 3.5 million expected to hit the sky and a tropical storm in the distance.

“I think it's been pretty easy so far since the storm hasn't hit yet,” said Jaclyn Elson, who is departing from Southwest Florida International Airport. “My mom was worried about it, but my dad said it won't hit,” her son, Elijah, interjected.

It's not just Elsa that's factoring into that concern.

“This is our first experience with any sort of tropical storm, so I was a little bit worried. I wasn't sure if anything would get delayed especially since Southwest has had, in the month of June, a ton of cancellations. So I was a little bit concerned that because they're stating that it's weather related, that we might have a delay or a cancellation,” said Jaclyn.

Southwest is among the airlines experiencing the most labor shortages and cancellations in recent days.

All of these reasons combined are why most travelers said they're heeding The Lee County Port Authority's warning, which is to get to RSW two hours before your departure this holiday weekend.

The agency said it will be busy and the travel experience will be different, so it may take extra time to check-in and get through security. Still, most travelers said the experience so far has been smooth.

“My wife actually wanted to get here early today because she was worried about traffic, traffic was awesome. We're like super early so I think everything's going great,” said Raymond Elson, who is departing from RSW.

“We were surprised, we arrived two and a half hours early and just sitting here, enjoying some water, looking at the small lines,” said Dennis Cheatham, another traveler who is departing from RSW.

For eight-year-old Elijah Elson, who said he wants to be on TV one day, he's keeping a close eye on Elsa and what our meteorologists have had to say.

“Honestly, I don't even know if we're going to fly during it, I think it's going to hit at like Tuesday,” he said.

Lee County Port Authority said it's monitoring Elsa for potential impacts next week and that you should contact your airline for the most up-to-date flight information. If there is inclement weather forecasted at destination or connecting airports, travelers should check with their air carrier to see if there are any changes to their flight schedules.