Expect a lot of 'new' at TIA around the holidays

Expect a lot of 'new' at TIA around the holidays
"New" at Tucson International Airport just in time for holiday travel. (Source: Tucson News Now)
"New" at Tucson International Airport just in time for holiday travel. (Source: Tucson News Now)

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Pack your bags and come prepared.

An estimated 13,000 passengers each day are expected to pass through the Tucson International Airport (TIA) around Christmas and New Years. According to the Tucson Airport Authority, the busiest days are expected to be Dec. 21, 22, 23 and 26-29 and Jan. 2.

Holiday travel in Tucson comes with a whole lot of 'new' this season, and it might be for the best.

Even on Monday, Dec. 18, holiday cheer was in full-effect.

"It's quick, efficient, and everyone is super friendly," said Sarah Booth, who was traveling with her family of four.

When it comes to holiday traveling, some avoid that time altogether.

"We always do before and after kind of thing. We try to stay away from the rush as much as we can," Pat Harrison said, on his way back to his home in Denver.

But for many, it's unavoidable.

The Tucson Airport Authority (TAA) hopes that frenzy has been muted after finishing up most all of the $28 million improvement project before the holiday rush.

"They include the Terminal Optimization Project (TOP); new food, beverage and retail concessions; and installation of solar canopies over the parking lots in front of the commercial airline terminal," the TAA website states.

TIA said it helped around Thanksgiving to have two new and improved TSA checkpoints, when passenger traffic spiked by as much as 25 percent the Sunday after the holiday.

"The new TSA checkpoint makes a big difference," said Jessie Butler, the TAA Public Information Manager. "The line queuing, I think, is the biggest piece. When you're going through TSA you want to get through as quick as you can. Here, it's typically pretty easy."

It's something frequent business travelers like Olen Nelson can appreciate - with a nice, deep breath.

"Trying to drag kids and luggage and everything else through all that is difficult. You have to be understanding," Nelson said. "Traveling is hard. It's not easy like it used to be. So the best thing you can do is be patient and be nice to people that are trying to be nice to you."

The TAA provided some holiday 2017 travel tips you can brush up on before you head to the airport, including getting to the airport, going through security, and meeting arriving visitors. READ MORE HERE: (https://www.flytucson.com/articles/be-prepared-this-holiday-season-for-whats-new-at-tus/)

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