Busiest time at Tampa International Airport is not the Holidays- it's right now

55,000 travelers a day going through TIA

TAMPA - If no deal is reached in the looming sequestration, Federal security and air traffic control workers at airports  will be furloughed, making for widespread delays.

The timing at Tampa International Airport would be particularly bad, as TIA is already jammed with people escaping lousy weather up north.

The spring break period at TIA is by far the busiest time of the year -- more so than Thanksgiving or Christmas.
It's not a student crowd, mostly grownups like Lin Lipson of Chicago with carefree plans.

"Rest and relaxation, visiting family, golfing, walking, shopping, meditating, you name it," said Lipson.

Even though the front moved through today bringing cooler temperatures, the Tampa Bay area's forecast is still a huge improvement over what  friends Laura Moore and Cathy Gowens left behind.
 
"It's sleeting in Chicago right now. Then it's going to snow.  We beat the snow storm. We're very happy," said Gowens.

Airport traffic from mid-February through mid-April is 20 percent higher than normal with an average of 55,000 travelers a day. Airport spokesperson Janet Zink warns travelers to arrive a full 90 minutes early.

"There's more traffic getting to the airport and there's more traffic in the airport. Spring Break is our busy season. We love it, but it's busy," said Zink.

If you're picking up friends or family at the airport in the next few weeks, Zink  recommends using the cell phone waiting lot instead of trying to loiter.

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