Anticipated national record-setting travel day to increase wait times in Hawaii airports

Local News

It’s projected to be the busiest day in United States airline industry history.

That’s the anticipation for Sunday, December 1st, the crescendo of what experts expect to be a near 4 percent increase in travel over 2018.

The crunch at check-in and TSA will also be felt in the parking lot, where Honolulu has just 4,740 stalls with a projected over 58,000 customers in Daniel K. Inouye International every day.

“It’s only going to get busier, especially as we get closer to Thanksgiving and the holiday season in December as well.” Hawaii Department of Transportation spokesperson Tim Sakahara said of a quiet day in Daniel K. Inouye on Monday afternoon.

“So we do encourage people to get dropped off at the airport instead of trying to come and park and find a parking stall.”

The addition of Southwest Airlines to Hawaii since last holiday season will also add longer lines with more flights and passengers.

“It does mean more people are coming to the airport, so yes it is a factor in fact that’s another factor in why the parking lots have been reaching capacity.” Sakahara added.

With Sunday expected to be the national record-setting travel day with 3.1 million passengers, part of a projected 31.6 million over the Thanksgiving holiday period. Three storms are also brewing on the United States continent.

“Check with the airline and flight status that morning of the flight to make sure it’s still on schedule. If it’s not maybe you don’t have to leave as early if it’s delayed.” Sakahara said.

The HI-DOT recommends that travelers arrive at least two hours prior to departure for domestic flights, and three hours early for international travel.

TSA, who released this list of ways to expedite Thanksgiving travel, has beefed up staffing to help move security lines along as quickly as possible.

“It makes a huge difference, and we have been coordinating with the federal partners, the TSA has been doing a great job at maximizing the staffing levels to try and make sure that the TSA lines are open and available especially during those peak hours and peak travel times.”

Peak times at Daniel K. International are 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., and 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.

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