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Staff at RSW anticipating busy holiday period, prepping for heavy traffic

Posted at 8:20 AM, Dec 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-17 08:26:42-05

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Whether or not you’ll be home for the holidays could depend on a few things.

And as the holidays are fast approaching some will be looking to travel.

Christmas Eve is exactly one week away and air travel- in particular- is projected to see a big increase as travelers look to visit family or just get away. Staff at Southwest Florida International Airport are expecting to see an increase in travel traffic.

They will be having extra staff on-hand and more stanchions to help ease those traffic lines at security checkpoints. The communications manager for the Lee County Port Authority says she thinks this month could be record-breaking for them.

According to the Port Authority, RSW has been seeing record-breaking traffic since May this year. It’s a sign that more passengers are keen to travel after regulations surrounding Covid-19 suspended most from doing so. In fact, flights and seats have been up 7% compared to December 2019. For that reason, airport staff are reminding travelers to plan ahead and expect long lines.

“We’re saying be there two hours ahead of time in the security checkpoint line," said Barbara-Anne Urrutia, Communications Manager for the Lee County Port Authority. "There are times where you don’t see a lot of lines and then 15 minutes there are lines in those queuing areas so it just depends on exactly when you’re here at the airport.”

Pre-existing travel regulations are still in place meaning you must wear a face mask while inside the airport terminal and rental car facility, per federal regulations.

The airport will be posting updates online on their website, Facebook and Instagram pages keeping travelers informed on any setbacks. Some updates in particular will be regarding their parking lots.

Airport staff say they expect those lots to be full between December 17 and January 5.

“Sometimes the biggest thing is just being prepared when getting here," says Urrutia. "Another thing is this time of year there’s a lot of weather in different places so check with your airline before coming out to the airport. Make sure your flight hasn’t changed or there’s not weather impacting your schedule. The more prepared you are, the easier it should be.”

They also say consider alternative ways to get to RSW, like being dropped off by friends or family.

You can visit the transportation security administration’s website for tips about what you can and cannot bring through the security checkpoint.