GREEN BAY (NBC 26) — With many airlines experiencing staffing shortages, travelers who are hoping to fly this Thanksgiving holiday will have to plan ahead for their trip to the airport. While airports are expecting to see a spike in holiday travel in the coming weeks, many airlines are struggling to keep up with the demand.
“We’re expecting it to be a pretty busy holiday travel season probably beginning in the next week or so all the way through Thanksgiving and into Christmas,” said Green Bay Austin Straubel Airport director Marty Piette.
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While the Green Bay Austin Straubel airport hasn’t experienced frequent flight cancellations like other airports, the airport is expecting an increase in traffic, especially with international travel back open.
“International travel is now open for those coming in to the U.S who are fully vaccinated. That hasn’t been the case for two years," Piette said. "We know about 20% of our traffic pre-COVID is international traffic, so that’ll add quite a few passengers to the terminal building.”
Due to the heavy traffic, the airport is asking travelers to arrive an hour to an hour and a half before their flight.
In addition, the airport is asking travelers to remember a mask, know the TSA rules related to carry-ons, and know your airline's baggage weight and size limits for a smoother experience when traveling for the holidays. Travelers may also want to plan out their meals. While the restaurants at the Green Bay airport are open, there may be limited food options at connecting airports due to the staffing shortages.
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The lack of staff may also mean longer lines. Travel agent Pete Monfre, owner of the Midwest Travel Club, says there are several ways to shorten your waiting time.
“One is to do the TSA PreCheck, those lines are significantly shorter than the regular security," Monfre said. "Another thing to do is to make sure you’re checked into your flight and you have your boarding pass either printed or on your phone.”
With the unpredictable potential of cancellations, Monfre's biggest piece of advice is arriving to the airport early.
“Always arrive early so that if something does get cancelled you have time to go and find an alternative flight," Monfre said. "If you’ve booked with a travel agent be in contact with your agent. Otherwise prepare to call in to the airline themselves and see when you can get your replacement flight booked."