TAMPA, Fla. — “It’s going to be busier than last Labor Day weekend,” said Emily Nipps, spokesperson for Tampa International Airport.
This labor day weekend, Tampa International Airport will see about 340,000 travelers.
“About 60,000 passengers a day on average are going to be coming through the airport,” said Nipps.
TPA has had plenty of busy days leading up to the Labor Day holiday.
“We are definitely seeing some days, some peak days that are actually higher than we saw pre-pandemic,” said Nipps.
Airport operations across the board are pretty much back to normal.
“We have all of our shops and restaurants open. Most of them have up to full hours, so we are ready for a busy weekend,” said Nipps.
This comes off the heels of an intense spring and summer filled with lots of frustrations for travelers nationwide who experienced a wave of flight delays, cancellations, and lost luggage.
“It was very frustrating because we were late; the first plane was late, then we were trying to get there back on time, and then the second plane was late,” said passenger Garvin Zephryin.
This was amid soaring ticket prices due to skyrocketing fuel costs and lingering pandemic effects.
Airlines have been battling unprecedented staff shortages. Unpredictable weather didn’t make flying any easier for Florida passengers.
“Anything from a pop-up storm to a shuttle launch can delay flights because that fills up the Florida air space,” said Nipps.
Things are expected to get better heading into the fall, starting with this weekend.
Travel experts believe delays shouldn’t be as bad as they have been in recent months.
“FAA, the airlines, everybody is doing their part making sure we get back to normal as soon as possible, and we’re seeing a huge improvement,” said Nipps.
For one, the U.S. Department of Transportation just launched a new tool they hope will help.
It’s a dashboard that allows you to navigate what kinds of services airlines will give you if your flight is canceled or delayed for an airline issue like staffing trouble, fueling issues, or cabin cleaning.
You can expect things like food vouchers and hotel stays.
However, if you do have a flight delay at TPA this weekend, airport officials want you to take advantage of the services they offer.
“If you’re sitting at your gate and you want something from another airside, you can actually use an app now it’s called TPA to Go it’s the grab app, and you can actually order food from someplace else,” said Nipps.
However, before you even get to TPA, parking may be tricky this weekend.
“We have some construction going on that’s impacting our short-term garage. So there will be peak times where we will be diverting people away from the short-term garage and then having them park in the long-term garage,” said Nipps.
You can always reserve a parking spot online ahead of time, and it’s cheaper.
If you’re coming to the import for a short time to wait for someone, the long-term parking lot has one-hour of free parking.
“Our Blue express curbs are less congested than our regular curbs, so you’re coming to the airport and you’re getting dropped off, you don’t have to check a bag, you don’t have to go to the ticketing level, use our express lanes. They’re very convenient,” said Nipps.