Orlando International Airport could reach pre-pandemic holiday travel numbers

Have patience and arrive early -- that’s the holiday travel advice from Orlando International Airport’s Director Phil Brown.  

Early Wednesday morning travelers saw long lines at Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints. Brown says 40% of the airport’s outgoing passengers go through TSA before 9 a.m. 

Bernadette Franck got to the airport six hours early for her flight on Wednesday, not sure what to expect.  

"I allowed a lot of wiggle room. I don’t leave until 8," Franck said. 

She’s thankful she didn’t wait until the last minute. She had issues finding a place to leave her car.  

"Trying to park here has been insane. I had to park down on [State Road] 436.  All the lots were full," Franck told FOX 35 News.  

Brown confirms onsite parking is full, Franck says off-site parking is filling up too.  

"The first two I went to were full," Franck said. 

The Martin family hit some unexpected hiccups trying to get home to West Virginia.  

"We got a call about an hour before we were supposed to head this way to leave out. American Airlines to Charlotte had canceled," Chris Martin said.  

They should have been taking off at 10:46 this morning but didn’t leave until 3:24 this afternoon, getting them home eight hours later than expected.  The Martin’s made the most of the extra time at the airport. 

"We were able to go to the food court, relax a little bit, get lunch," Chris said. 

Brown said most of the vendors in the airport are back up and running so travelers should not have any issues finding food or gifts. 

Orlando International Airport is expecting travel this weekend to be up to 98% of what it was Thanksgiving weekend 2019.  But, it could be equal or more to 2019 by the end of the weekend if folks book last-minute trips. 

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