Houston airports prepare to fly millions of people during Thanksgiving week | Houston Public Media

Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

Air travel by Texans is expected to increase 77% year over year over the holiday weekend.

Houston airports are expected to handle about 2.3 million travelers pass through William P. Hobby and Bush Intercontinental Airport this week, a 3% increase over the same period compared to the same period in 2019 and a 9% increase compared to 2021.

The Thanksgiving travel period began Nov. 17 and ends Nov. 29, with Nov. 20, 23, and 27 being the busiest days for air travel in Houston. Hobby is expected to serve more than 560,000 travelers and Bush more than 1.7 million.

To help travelers prepare for the busy holiday season, Houston Airports are encouraging travelers to plan and prepare as more people fly this holiday season, construction continues at Bush Intercontinental and more travelers should be on Houston roads.

Sergeant Tracy Hicks is part of the Houston Police Department’s large auto theft unit. He said that this week being one of the busiest times of the year, auto theft is very high.

“What we want to do is remind people when you arrive at the airport not to leave any items in your car,” he said.

Hicks said one way travelers can avoid leaving items in their car is to pack lightly.

“The big problem is that when people come here to the airport, they [may] left their work laptop and you know they’re ‘oh I’m not going to take it with me so I’m going to leave it in the car,’” he said.

Besides electronics, Hicks said weapons like guns are often left in vehicles at airports.

“An important thing is the weapons,” he said. “A lot of times people are used to traveling overland and may have their gun or something in their bag and not think about it when they get here.”

Hicks said the worst thing anyone can do with their gun is leave it in their car. He said if anyone realizes they have their gun on them or anything else that can’t be properly stored, he suggests calling someone.

“Honestly, I would call a friend or someone to take care of [those] things,” he said.

HPD will have additional officers on duty to monitor parking lots and garages, but travelers should be aware of parking in areas that are not monitored by airport security or HPD.

The TSA has worked with airports to put more workers in place to accommodate busy flight schedules. Patricia Mancha is the TSA spokeswoman in Texas and says they are trying to prepare passengers for the busy week, especially passengers who haven’t flown in years.

“We expect to see an increase in the number of travellers, people who have not traveled for a while and who may have forgotten some rules and regulations when it comes to coming to the airport – their luggage, etc,” Mancha said.

Mancha said the most important things people need to remember are that travelers need to arrive at the airport early – two hours for domestic flights and three hours for international flights, knowing which airport and which airline you are leaving and bring a government-issued ID.

Mancha said passengers who are not ready to pass security checks cause the biggest delays.

“People don’t have their IDs, they don’t have their flight information, they have to take off a lot of items on their clothes, so if you’re going to travel, wear shoes that [can] easily removed. »

The TSA said it expects many passengers to travel with Thanksgiving leftovers and should educate themselves on the foods they are allowed to travel with and the proper way to store their items. Passengers are encouraged to plan ahead if traveling with food to avoid thrown items or even fines.

“You can bring anything as long as it’s not a liquid in your carry-on, and a liquid is defined as if you can spill, spread, pour or pump it, it’s limited to 3 .4 oz,” Mancha said.

Travelers are allowed to bring sweets, pies, stuffing or dressing, and instant potatoes in their carry-on baggage. Items such as canned goods, water bottles, alcohol, and wrapped gifts would fit in a checked bag.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection advises airline passengers to check their food items if traveling in and out of the country. Customs officials said the holiday season is when they find the most prohibited food items in passengers’ luggage. Pork is a popular item that passengers tend to travel with from other countries, such as tamales and ham.

Ashlee Willett is an agriculture specialist and K-9 manager with U.S. Customs and Border Protection and says they try to keep pests and diseases out of the United States.

“Some fruits have certain parasites they like to feed on and also meat, some meat from other countries, this animal is prone to diseases.”

Willett said that before departing and entering the United States, passengers should check their baggage to ensure they are permitted to travel with appropriate groceries.

“The main thing is to know what’s in your luggage,” she said. “If Cody smells something that’s prohibited and you don’t know it’s in there, you can be the one to pay the fine – which can sometimes be as high as $500.”

Reginald Moore is also an agricultural scholar and said many travelers miss certain foods from their home country.

“Older travelers tend to get upset because it’s close to their hearts, they probably haven’t been home in 20-30 years.”

Other items such as seeds and citrus from other countries are prohibited. Passengers can go to United States Customs and Border Protection website to find out what items they are allowed to bring from other countries.

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