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TSA at Richmond Airport: Spring break travel surge in full swing

Spring break travel crowds are back and approaching pre-pandemic levels at Richmond International Airport.
Published: Mar. 23, 2022 at 5:50 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - After the last two years, folks have been itching to dust off the travel bucket list and check the box on trips.

Now, airports are hustling with passengers who have long-awaited spring break travel.

TSA at Richmond International Airport (RIC) said that lines are getting busier by the day. The amount of passengers flocking to the airport is approaching pre-pandemic levels.

“More and more people are flying; many people haven’t flown in months or maybe even years as a result of the pandemic,” TSA Spokesperson Lisa Farbstein said.

TSA Federal Security Director Chuck Burke says it will be more crowded than it has been in quite a while.

“With the summer coming up, with the spring breaks, with people being a little more comfortable traveling by air and everything else of that nature, I see us going from an average of 5,000 (passengers) a day into the 6,000 and 7,000 range,” Burke said.

To avoid a travel headache, Farbstein says to get to the airport 90 minutes before your flight is set to depart.

“Every airport has rush hours just like on the highway,” Farbstein said.

She says the busiest times at RIC have always been early mornings and late afternoons, but the pandemic has affected which days are most active.

“We noticed a new trend as a result of the pandemic, and that is that Sundays tend to be the busier days in the airport,” she said.

The momentum is unlikely to stop after spring break. With the mask mandate on planes set to expire on April 18, TSA says this will likely trigger a new surge in travelers.

“We see that Memorial Day, we see that July 4th, we see that Labor Day,” Farbstein said. “We expect that will continue as more and more people are vaccinated, and more and more flights are available.”

TSA’s biggest tip is to review the protocols to avoid stopping and slowing down long security lines.

TSA says the best way to avoid these long lines and speed up the process is to do your part. Those who haven’t flown in a while may need to brush up on the rules.

The best way to do this is to download the MyTSA app. You can input items you’re unsure about on your phone, and the app will tell you whether to put them in your carry-on or checked bag or avoid bringing them on the plane at all.

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