Discover Florida’s Thanksgiving travel trends, including Orlando Airport’s passenger surge and road traffic advice for a seamless holiday journey.
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Orlando, Florida – As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, Florida is gearing up for what is anticipated to be the busiest travel season in recent years.
The roads and airways are expected to see a significant influx of travelers, surpassing previous years’ figures.
This comprehensive report provides insights and advice for those planning to travel during this period.
Orlando International Airport Braces for Passenger Surge
The Greater Orlando Aviation Authority has projected a remarkable influx of travelers at the Orlando International Airport (MCO).
The forecast indicates that approximately 2.1 million passengers will pass through the airport over 12 days, beginning from last Friday.
This represents a notable 17% increase compared to last year.
The busiest day is expected to be the Saturday following Thanksgiving, with around 186,670 passengers.
Expert Advice for a Smooth Airport Experience
Marquez Griffin, Vice President of Operations, stresses the importance of timely arrivals, advising passengers to be at the ticket counter three hours before their flight.
In contrast, Griffin advises those picking up passengers to arrive early enough to avoid congestion in the pickup lanes.
The airport has also enhanced its parking facilities, adding new options such as the West Park Place area and a special overflow lot, creating 2,000 additional parking spaces compared to last year.
Nationwide and Local Traffic Trends
Nationally, the Federal Aviation Administration anticipates a peak of 46,606 flights on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.
The Sunday following the holiday is also forecasted to be busy, with over 3.2 million passengers expected to take to the skies.
On the roads, the American Automobile Association (AAA) projects a 1.7% increase in travel compared to 2022, with approximately 49.1 million Americans expected to drive during the holiday.
In Florida specifically, an estimated 2.77 million drivers are projected to travel more than 50 miles for Thanksgiving, continuing a trend that has exceeded pre-pandemic levels since 2019.
Peak Traffic Times and Safety Tips
Matthew Richardson, a spokesperson for the Florida Department of Transportation, emphasizes that the busiest traffic is expected on the two days leading up to Thanksgiving, particularly on Interstates 75 and 4 in Orange and Osceola counties. The department encourages motorists to utilize resources like FL511.com for real-time traffic updates and to plan their routes accordingly.
Diverse Travel Options Gain Popularity
In addition to road and air travel, other modes such as cruise ships, buses, and trains are increasingly used.
These modes are expected to see an 11% rise in passengers compared to last year, with AAA estimating that 1.55 million people will opt for these forms of travel during the holiday season.
As Florida prepares for a bustling Thanksgiving, travelers must stay informed, plan, and exercise patience.
The anticipated travel surge underscores the region’s ongoing recovery and growth in tourism and transportation sectors.
This Thanksgiving promises to be a litmus test for the state’s preparedness in managing large-scale travel events in the new normal.