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Roanoke, Lynchburg airport officials say Thanksgiving travel will increase this year

Published: Nov. 18, 2021 at 6:42 PM EST
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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - The gates at local airports will soon be filling up.

With only a week until Thanksgiving, more flights will be heading in and out across our region.

Officials in Lynchburg and Roanoke say there will be more folks flying this year compared to last year.

“We’ve anticipated high traffic coming up leading into Thanksgiving. We’re seeing that right now. Our flights are pretty much full right now through this week and leading next week into Thanksgiving. Flights right now are showing about 85% full,” said Andrew LaGala, Lynchburg Regional Airport director.

“We expect things to be up about 40% in traffic from 2020 and we actually had a really good holiday season in 2020 as well,” said Brad Boettcher, Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport director of marketing.

In fact, at LYH, another flight has been added this year.

That’s to compensate for increased demand.

“We’re at five, six flights a day. American [Airlines] has added an extra frequency this month throughout the holiday just to pick up for that demand, so we’re showing about six flights leading into Thanksgiving,” said LaGala, adding there were about four per day last year.

With the increase of traffic, they say arriving on time is important.

Officials recommend getting to the airport 60 to 90 minutes ahead of time.

“That’s plenty of time. You can check in the ticket counter and have plenty of time to get through the checkpoint and then down at the boarding area,” said LaGala.

Make sure to check your bags before arriving.

“We’ve had two guns caught in the checkpoint in the last week, so, check your bag before you pack it. Not knowing your loaded handgun wasn’t in your bag isn’t an excuse,” said Boettcher.

They expect the spike to last days after Thanksgiving as people return home.

Additionally, some folks might be bringing food to their Thanksgiving feast. The TSA is encouraging people to take a look on their website to see what bag you might need to put your stuff in.

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