Orlando International Airport prepares for surge in holiday travelers

Airport officials anticipate more than 2.6 million passengers traveling in next 19 days

ORLANDO, Fla. – Workers at Orlando International Airport are preparing for a surge of travelers this holiday season as traffic is expected to rival pre-pandemic levels.

According to airport officials, more than 2.6 million passengers will travel through the gates during the 19-day travel period, which runs from Dec. 17-Jan. 4.

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When compared to the 2019/2020 holiday season, OIA projects to be only about 3% short.

“We’re at our best when we’re busy,” CEO Phil Brown said. “We know there’s plenty of pent-up demand, domestically for sure, because we saw the manifestation of that in the numbers.”

The high demand created parking issues over the Thanksgiving holiday and led to changes.

“For our overflow parking, we added more personnel to process, because one of the things we had to do over the Thanksgiving holiday was use our employee parking lot,” Brown said. “What we’ve tried to do is get the messaging out and get a plan in place.”

To help navigate long security lines, reservation lanes are now available. The system is free, and a slot can be reserved at reserve.clearme.com.

“Get here at that time and relax and have a seat and not worry about the big lines,” Director of Customer Experience Brian Engle said.

The busiest day during the holiday travel period is expected to be Saturday, Dec. 18, with nearly 157,000 passengers.

No matter which day passengers travel during the holidays, they’re urged to arrive at the airport at least three hours before departure.

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.