Holiday travel leads to long lines at Orlando International Airport

1.63 million passengers expected at OIA during the holiday period, airport officials say

ORLANDO, Fla. – There were long lines at Orlando International Airport early Wednesday as thousands were traveling ahead of Thanksgiving.

Airport officials have said they expect 1.63 million passengers during the holiday period, which would bring foot traffic to near pre-pandemic levels. The estimate for departures and arrivals on Wednesday was nearly 1,000 passengers more than the record-breaking year of 2019.

For much of the morning, hundreds of people were lined up at the TSA security checkpoint.

[BEFORE YOU FLY: Check your flight out of OIA here]

“It’s a bit crazy today, for sure,” Breezy Stevens said before catching a flight to Iowa. “I’ve never seen the line this long, so it’s a little nuts.”

With travel making a comeback, there are also ongoing fears for some who haven’t flown since before the pandemic.

Jovan Thompson was traveling with his family to Hartford, Connecticut and said there were feelings of nervousness after seeing the crowds.

“Lot of anxiety right now, but just praying, hoping we make it through in time so we can just run out and get to our flights,” Thompson said.

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While the airport was crowded on Wednesday, it’s expected to be busier in the coming days. OIA officials said the busiest day of the Thanksgiving travel period is Saturday when an estimated 154,400 people will be passing through the gates.

Passengers flying out of OIA were encouraged to check with their airline and arrive at the airport at least two hours before their flight.

About the Author:

Mark Lehman became a News 6 reporter in July 2014, but he's been a Central Florida journalist and part of the News 6 team for much longer. While most people are fast asleep in their bed, Mark starts his day overnight by searching for news on the streets of Central Florida.