Thousands of people worked their way through security today at Austin Bergstrom International Airport on one of the busiest travel days before Christmas. Airport officials are even using a brand new over flow lot to accommodate extra traffic.
"Have a little patience and realize it's a busy, busy place," said Jim Halbrook with ABIA. Almost 6,000 passengers cleared security by 8 a.m. Monday. Traditionally speaking Halbrook says Christmas Eve is a very busy travel day too.
The holiday rush was to be expected for many people inching through ticket and security lines.
"I've seen this before," said traveler Deborah Poisot who is going to Washington, D.C. to visit her 95 year old mother.
"All the jets are full and with the number of people coming through we're advising passengers to be here 90 minutes before their departure time," said Halbrook.
"We knew it's Christmas and people are going to be packing in here so why not stay for the longhaul," said Poisot.
Poisot parked in the overflow economy lot, the lot officials opened Sunday to accomodate extra traffic.
"The parking does ebb and flow at times. On Sunday we opened Lot J. However, enough people came back so we had spaces open up but that changed this morning so we are probably pretty solidly in an overflow situation," said Halbrook.
The free cell phone waiting lot enticed many who came to pick up friends and family. Waiting wasn't easy for Jim Shafer who had precious cargo to pick up from South Carolina.
"She's smiling and I've never seen her yet," Shafer said as he held his granddaughter for the very first time. She's three months old.
"I didn't know what to think I'm just happy they are here and they made it safely," he said standing next to his daughter and granddaughter.
As for parking, if you have any questions you can call 512-530-3300 for real time status updates. There are other options like off-site parking or having someone drop you off or consider taking a cab.
Travel at ABIA is up six percent for the year.