St. Louis Lambert International Airport says it is geared-up for one of the busiest Thanksgiving holiday travel periods in years.
STL is projecting a seven percent increase in departing passengers over the next 10 days, beginning today, Friday, Nov. 17, through Sunday, Nov. 26. The airport is forecasting approximately 175,500 passengers will check-in and go through STL’s security checkpoints during this period. That’s an increase of more than 12,000 passengers. Nationally, U.S. airlines are predicting a three percent increase in air travel over 2016.
Peak days at Lambert are expected to be Wednesday, Nov. 22, with more than 21,000 check-ins, and Sunday, Nov. 26, with a projected 23,400 passengers checking in for departures.
More than 20,000 passengers are checking-in and going through the TSA security checkpoints today, Friday, Nov. 17, to kick-off the travel period. Airplane load factors are expected to be above 90 percent over the next 10 days.
Terminals and gate areas will be even more crowded with passengers connecting through STL. Connecting passenger traffic, which accounts for those passengers who have already cleared security at their originating airports, is riding a 30 percent increase so far this year at STL. Through the first nine months, that’s an increase of 253,000 passengers versus the same time period in 2016.
In time for this major rush of traffic, STL is opening a new Starbucks location in Terminal 2, near gate E-29, which will accommodate passengers in the newly expanded part of the terminal and new gates from E-29 to E-40. This will be the second Starbucks location serving passengers in the E Gates (T2) and the seventh location overall for the airport.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the airlines recommend the following travel tips for navigating the busiest travel days of the year:
• Arrive two hours ahead of scheduled boarding time, especially if checking luggage or flying international.
• Check the status of all flights to and from STL as updated by the airlines here.
• Visit www.tsa.gov to search what items can and cannot be brought through the TSA security checkpoint, such as liquids, which must be in 3.4 ounce containers or less.
• Learn more about TSA accepted forms of identification, or traveling with children, medical conditions r disabilities, at www.TSA.gov
• Do not wrap holiday gifts. They should remain unwrapped for air travel.
• TSA Pre-Check is available at all checkpoints with participating airlines.
• Wheelchair assistance is provided by the airlines at no cost. This can be a big help for limited mobility or elderly travelers. For the best accommodation, contact the airline in advance to request
• If picking up a passenger at STL airport, use one of the free cell phone lots instead of the parking garages.
• If parking at STL, visit www.SuperParkingLot.com for all options and real-time parking availability.
PHOTO: Passengers make their way through St. Louis Lambert International Airport. (Lambert photo)