HONOLULU (KHON2) — Officials are expecting more people to come through Hawaii’s airports as travel ramps up for spring break and the Safe Travels program comes to an end.
Transportation officials said many parking spaces across Hawaii’s airports have been filling up.
There are more than 5,000 stalls at Honolulu’s airport, while Lihue’s airport has 675.
“Now that may sound like a lot, but for a small airport, that’s not really a whole lot. And if you’re not there by 10:30 a.m. — 11 a.m. in the morning,” said Jai Cunningham, Department of Transportation (DOT) spokesman. “You’re going to be waiting because the spots are all going to be taken up.”
Which is precisely what happened as Lihue’s airport parking lot was already full by 11 a.m. on Friday.
Cunningham said travel to the mainland and folks flying interisland play a role in taking up space.
“It’s the high school kids here as well, who maybe get a chance, to go on a one or two-night stay over on Kauai, it’s definitely spring break related,” added Cunningham.
The new CONRAC rental facility at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport freed up about 700 stalls in the Terminal 2 parking building. In the last two weeks, those stalls opened up after rentals were moved out.
Officials predicted that travel will go smoothly with the last day of Safe Travels on Friday, March 25,
“Because once you get off that plane, you just go straight to baggage claim. You don’t have to go through the process with the QR code,” explained Cunningham.
Amy Ortega works for the United Service Organizations and she said even with thousands of spaces, finding a spot can still be difficult around peak travel times.
“Yeah, especially like during Christmas time, it was really hard to find parking,” said Ortega. “I have to park, so I work in Terminal 2, and I had to park like way at the top. And sometimes that was even hard to find parking up there.”
The DOT said finding a ride to the airport is the best advice to travelers from every island.
“By cab, by taxi, Uber, Lyft, a friend, family members,” Cunningham said. “It’s easier just to like grab the backpack, grab the roll-on luggage, say goodbye to whoever it is, ‘thanks for dropping me off.'”
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TSA said staffing is set for spring but they are on the lookout for 15 to 20 more workers at Kona and Kahului airports for the summer.