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"Crowds returning to Florida airports"


 
Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Crowds returning to airports
It's the height of the holiday travel season and the state's major airports
want you to be prepared to deal with the crowds.
BY BRIDGET CAREY
The Miami (FL) Herald


South Florida's major airports issued reminders to travelers Tuesday that
the busy holiday travel season is upon us.

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International is anticipating more than 1 million
passengers traveling in and out of the airport, starting today through Jan.
3, about the same as last year.

''We're going to be about in the same spot as we were last year,'' said Greg
Meyer, Public Information Officer for the Broward County Aviation
Department. ``The reason for that is while we have fewer seats available,
the planes are flying at a higher capacity.''

Miami International expects a 2 percent increase of holiday travelers from
last year.

Starting Thursday through Jan. 7, they expect more than 1.9 million
passengers, MIA assistant director Lauren Stover said. During peak days MIA
expects about 100,000 passengers a day.

Nationally, the Air Transport Association projected a 2.4 increase in travel
from Dec. 14 through Jan. 3, compared to last year, for a total of 42
million passengers.

Planes are expected to be about 80 percent full, the ATA said.

During the peak days, both Miami and Fort Lauderdale suggest arriving two
hours early, especially if you have to park.

''If you're trying to catch your flight, it just reduces the stress level
for everybody,'' Meyer said.

Fort Lauderdale projects its busiest day to be Saturday with about 68,000
travelers through the gates.

Miami's busiest day before Christmas is estimated to be Friday with 113,000
passengers, but they foresee the peak holiday travel day to be Jan. 2 with
115,000 travelers.

''People need to just have some patience and we hope to get them though the
airport quickly and on to the their destinations,'' Stover said.

Fort Lauderdale has already opened its overflow parking areas and is
anticipating more than 16,000 vehicles. Staff suggest travelers listen to
the airport's radio station, 1670 AM, to get updated information on parking.
The station can be heard two miles away from the airport or online at
fll.net.

Miami hasn't opened overflow parking areas yet, but airport staff recommend
getting dropped off to avoid parking hassles.

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