The Eastern Iowa Airport is expecting thousands to fly for Thanksgiving: here’s how to reduce your travel time

The Eastern Iowa Airport is expecting thousands to fly for Thanksgiving: here’s how to reduce your travel time

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) – Thanksgiving flyers at the Eastern Iowa Airport should be prepared for longer travel time than years past. An estimated 2500 travelers are expected to come through the airport on Wednesday, meaning longer wait times for almost every section of traveling.

“We’re telling people be sure to arrive a little bit early. It takes a little bit of time to find a place to park because we’re busier so people are parking further out. If you have to check bags, there’s lines at the ticket counter. You’re going to have a line at security screening.” said Eastern Iowa Airport Director Marty Lenss.

Because the Eastern Iowa Airport is smaller, most passengers arrive about 30 minutes before their departure. But Eastern Iowa Airport Director Marty Lenss says that won’t cut it this year.

“We’re recommending you get here about 90 minutes ahead of time and you should be fine.” said Lenss.

One of the reasons travel times are so much longer has to do with the growth of the airport over the last year.

”The biggest difference for us, quite honestly, is much larger airplanes serving the market versus, you know, pre-pandemic we would average about 77 seats on an airplane. We’re now about 44% more seats on a per-departure basis.” said Lenss.

Travelers leaving today also offered advice to those flying later this week.

“Definitely leave early, that’s one thing. So, originally I was supposed to leave on Wednesday, but I decided to leave today to hopefully avoid the crowds.” suggested Rancho Cucamonga, CA resident Raymond Valentino Alvarez.

“Getting here at least two hours, maybe three hours ahead of time. Make sure the car is running well, you don’t want to get stuck.” said Peosta, IA resident Thomas Rohn.

But Lenss says that, while slower travel times are inevitable, the airport will work hard to get people where they’re going.

“It’s the holidays, so things never go smooth. So, we need to pack some patience and make sure you allow that extra time.” said Lenss.

In addition to getting there early, Airport officials recommend downloading the app of whatever airline you’re flying. That way, you can easily keep track of gate changes, departure and arrival times, and more.

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