ORLANDO, Fla. - There were just 10-15 minute waits to get through security Saturday morning at Orlando International Airport. Looking around, you might not realize that this was the busiest travel day of the airport's busiest travel season. "It all worked out great, we're really happy with everything," said Dianne Bettin, who was traveling to Michigan, "we had no problems at the airport."
Airport officials say when it comes to spring break travel, arrive early and pack your patience. Nearly 160,000 people were expected to pass through the airport, Saturday - and more than 310,000 across the weekend. The airport's new CEO, Kevin Thibault, says they're working to accommodate these growing numbers. "As we continue to grow here at this airport, it's important we provide as much customer service and expansion as we can to handle travelers' needs."
The December holiday season may seem like the busiest time of year there, but that distinction goes to the spring break period, which runs from February 27 through April 19. During that time, more than 7 million passengers are projected to travel through MCO. Thibault says they're also bringing on more screeners. "They continue to add additional staff, there's strong demand at this airport, to process the passengers that we have."
This year's spring break numbers are expected to be a 35 percent jump over this period last year, when a little over 5.2 million passengers traveled through the airport. Travelers we talked to say they want to get to their destinations, but need to stay safe. The airport has a free COVID-19 testing and vaccination clinic inside the terminal, no reservations required. "It's all part of the process," said Barry Jacobson, who was traveling to Denver, "I'd rather be safe. Wearing my mask on an airline is not a problem."