Airport Gears Up For Thanksgiving Travel

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Indianapolis International Airport says it will have fewer flights but more seats available for the peak Thanksgiving travel period compared to last year. The airport says airline capacity for this year's holiday season is at its highest level since 2010.

November 24, 2014

News Release

Indianapolis, Ind. -- With Thanksgiving one of the most popular travel times of the year, flights are typically very full and airports extremely busy on peak days during the week of the holiday. This year, that will be met with a 5.3% increase in airline capacity at IND to the largest total since 2010.

According to Airlines for America (A4A), an industry trade group, 24.6 million passengers will fly nationwide during the Thanksgiving travel period, which it defines as the 12-day range from Nov. 21 through Dec. 2. This represents an increase of 1.5 percent – or about 31,000 passengers per day – over last year. Days that will see the highest demand are projected to be Sunday, Nov. 30; Monday, Dec. 1; and Wednesday, Nov. 26. Lowest passenger demand will fall on Thanksgiving Day and the Friday after. (Nov. 27 and 28)

Meanwhile, according to AAA Travel, the average airfare for Thanksgiving travel is up slightly from last year, about one percent, even though the number of people travelling by air is expected to be at the highest level since 2007.

AVAILABLE FLIGHTS AND SEATS

The six-day peak Thanksgiving travel period this year is November 26 – December 1. Following are some statistics about capacity at IND, with a comparison to 2013:

Flights available Seats available Nonstop destinations

2014 742 74,512 33*

2013 762 70,778 32

Change -2.6% 5.3% 3.1%

*Four new destinations not reflected above will be added to the IND nonstop network early next year: St. Petersburg–Clearwater International Airport (PIE), Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB), the Punta Gorda Airport (PGD), and New Orleans (MSY)

Below are highlights of new features at IND this holiday season and holiday travel tips:

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF NEW IND SERVICE PLAZA

The IND Service Plaza is located on the south side of Col. H Weir Cook Memorial Drive and is easily accessible to all vehicles arriving and departing the passenger terminal. The Service Plaza offers 24 fuelling positions, with fuel options including all levels of unleaded gas as well as diesel and compressed natural gas. It also offers automotive services, a Circle K convenience store, Subway restaurant, and designated parking for people awaiting arriving parties at IND. (IND also offers a designated cell phone lot across from the Service Plaza, with over 200 spots).

HOLIDAY TRAVEL TIPS

--Be aware of fees for checked bags and surcharges that may apply for traveling on certain holiday dates.

--To make for a smoother arrival experience, parties can drop off passengers and luggage before parking. The driver can access the curbside without any parking fees to drop off passengers and their luggage and then easily return to park at either the Terminal Garage or the Economy Lot.

--Drivers who simply want to park and wait for arriving passengers should take advantage of available parking at the IND Service Plaza or the Cell Phone Lot.

--When freezing rain, ice, or snow is predicted – whether in Indianapolis, at a final destination, or a connecting airport in between – flights may be delayed or cancelled.

--Check the status of flights online before departing for the airport:

--Passengers can check the real-time status of flights on the airport’s home page at www.indianapolisairport.com. Select arriving or departing flights by airline to find information about estimated arrival and departure times, gates, and flight status. The information is refreshed every 60 seconds.

--Obtain real-time airport status and the latest information on flights across the U.S. at www.fly.faa.gov, which utilizes the FAA’s Air Traffic Control System Command Center. Its color-coded, state-by-state flight-delay information includes details on delays as well as airport closures.

--Arrive early: for stress-free travel, passengers should allow ample time for parking, checking bags and obtaining boarding passes, and clearing security. Passengers should check with their airlines for specific arrival time recommendations.

--Checking in online/printing a boarding pass at home can save time at the airport.

--To save even more time, premium parking, including both valet and self-park options, is available on Level 3 of the Terminal Garage. For those who self-park, there are about 6,000 spaces in Economy Parking and nearly 6,000 spaces in the garage.

--For the latest news and information about airport security procedures and policies, visit www.tsa.gov, the Transportation Security Administration website. In general, travelers should be aware of the following:

--Passengers 75 and older or 12 and under can leave shoes on when going through security checkpoints

--TSA’s Secure Flight Program is in effect. The program compares the names of passengers booking flights against names on national watch lists, fulfilling a key recommendation of the 9/11 Commission. This program requires airlines to collect passenger information including full name, date-of-birth, and gender as it appears on the government-issued photo IDs presented to TSA screening officers at airport checkpoints. Be sure you use the information that appears on your photo ID when booking your flight or your airline may not be able to issue a boarding pass

--All passengers are now subject to varied layers of security screening protocols, including pat-downs by TSA officers to detect hidden, dangerous items between legs, around the chest, and other areas of the body. Other security layers include Advanced Imaging Technology, explosives trace detection, and canine teams, among others.

--Wear slip-on shoes, if possible, avoiding those with laces and zippers. Pack properly. Remember TSA requires travelers follow the 3-1-1 rule for liquids, gels, and aerosols in all bags going through security checkpoints. This includes holiday food and gifts.

--The TSA’s TSA Pre✓® program offers travelers a streamlined screening process. More information is available at http://www.tsa.gov/tsa-precheck.

For information on how to get through security quickly, acceptable forms of identification, special needs travel, traveling with batteries and electronic devices, baggage locks, and more, visit www.tsa.gov/travelers

About the Indianapolis Airport Authority

The Indianapolis Airport Authority owns and operates Indiana’s largest airport system. In addition to the Indianapolis International Airport, its facilities include the Downtown Heliport, Eagle Creek Airpark, Hendricks County Airport, Indianapolis Regional Airport, and Metropolitan Airport. IND has received numerous prestigious awards recognizing it as a leader within its class, including best airport in North America in 2010, 2012, and 2013 in Airports Council International’s annual Airport Service Quality awards. IND is the first airport in the U.S. to win LEED® certification for an entire terminal campus, and the airport has won additional recognition for excellent customer service, concessions programs, and art and architecture.

IND generates an annual economic impact in Central Indiana of more than $4.5 billion, without relying on state or local taxes to fund its operations. About 10,000 people work at the airport each day. IND serves more than 7 million business and leisure travelers each year, and averages 135 daily flights to 38 nonstop destinations including seasonal service. Home of the world's second-largest FedEx Express operation and the nation’s eighth-largest cargo facility, IND is committed to becoming the airport system of choice for both pa