With the right preparation, holiday traveling can be stress-free and safe. Columbia Metropolitan Airport is preparing for first-time and Thanksgiving travelers in advance this year.
For Kayla Zimmerman and her family, traveling over the holidays was a foreign idea until her husband joined the military.
“He has never flown, this will actually be his first flight,” Zimmerman said Friday. “Me and the kids just wanted to come see him off.”
Zimmerman’s husband was headed to a military base in Oklahoma.
Many military personnel fly over the holidays, adding to the number of airline passengers and the stress of travel.
“Thanksgiving is one of our [airport] busiest holidays, particularly with our military travelers,” said Lynn Douglas, the spokeswoman for Columbia Metropolitan Airport.
Many travelers underestimate the potential for flight delays during this heavily traveled season. A snowstorm Thursday stranded some travelers in the Northeast, resulting in a vast number of flights getting delayed. According to CBS News, nearly 5,000 flights in the U.S. were delayed and 1,300 flights got canceled.
Although the Midlands is not experiencing weather to that extreme, a freeze warning had been in effect for most of the Upstate this past week.
The Columbia Metropolitan Airport has been seeing some buildup of traffic but Douglas said the staff is well prepared for the holiday chaos set to come.
The biggest tip for holiday travelers is to be patient, Douglas said. “We have a lot of folks traveling for the first time; we see a lot of first time travelers,” Douglas said. “They are not quite familiar with travel as many of our savvy travelers are.”
With the holidays right around the corner, many people forget that the same rules do apply at the security check.
The Transportation Security Administration wants to stress that arriving early can result in an effective check- in process. “If you are traveling with gifts, remember to keep those gifts unwrapped,” Douglas said.
She said TSA is ordered to unwrap gifts to inspect them. “We would suggest to put the wrapped gifts into your checked luggage,” Douglas said.
Being patient, arriving on time, and being well-prepared are some tips for holiday voyagers this year. Although the Midlands has not experienced unexpected weather, travelers must be prepared for what’s to come to ensure holiday traveling is completed safe and stress-free.
For more updates on delays and flight updates, visit the Columbia Metropolitan Airport website for more information.
Lynn Douglas, the spokesperson for Columbia Metropolitan Airport said Thanksgiving is the airport’s busiest holiday. “We are expecting Monday, Tuesday, and even over the weekend to get really busy,” Douglas said.
Karen Glogauerreich is traveling to Wisconsin to visit some friends for Thanksgiving, but is experiencing an unexpected flight delay. “The delay is for a couple of hours,” Glogauerreich said.
The staff at Columbia Metropolitan Airport prepared ahead of time for holiday travelers. “Our staff and TSA do a great job of processing people as quickly as possible,” Douglas said. “Still being safe, because that is our priority.”