• Holiday crowds at Orlando International Airport underwhelming, travelers say

    By: WFTV Web Staff


    ORLANDO, Fla. - Flight delays are disrupting things for people traveling to and from Orlando today, and that's on top of slowdowns at TSA checkpoints.  

    The bottleneck wasn't in Orlando -- problems in other parts of the country were cascading through airlines' route networks and causing problems at Orlando International Airport as a result.

    On Tuesday afternoon, the terminal was packed with people trying to get home, including Andy Pickard and his kids, who said they were surprised by the light day-after-Christmas crowd.

    "We're going back to England, UK. It's not particularly busy, if I'm honest with you." Pickard said.

    OIA is projecting 145,000 people in and out by the end of Tuesday, which is the seventh-busiest holiday travel day. 

    Thursday, Friday and Saturday are likely to be worse, airport officials said.

    FLIGHT TRACKER: Check the status of your flight

    And that's without any additional issues, like the gun someone tried to bring through a TSA checkpoint before dawn today.

    "If it hits at a very busy time, like it did this morning, you'll see the lines back up all the way back to the food court and that's what happened this morning," said Jerry Henderson, TSA Orlando federal security director.

    Through next week, all airlines are asking travelers to show up three hours early in an effort to help avoid additional delays.

    Read: Cannonball, guns, welding torches, ninja weapons among items confiscated at OIA, officials say

    Even with the lengthy wait to get to her flight, Linda Camp said she was expecting it to be worse.

    "It's not so bad, and if you arrive with plenty of time, I think we're good," she said.

    Diane Bywater's daughter was flying back to Chicago after a visit to Central Florida.

    Her flight was delayed by about 45 minutes, Bywater said.

    "She does fly down every year at Christmas, so we kind of anticipate that this might happen and plan ahead," Bywater said.

    Passenger Brad King said the crowds this year were bad, but said they were nothing like last year.

    "I think last year is the largest I'd ever seen at the airport, the crowds," he said. "You couldn't tell where one line started."

    Passenger Anthony Manzo was also underwhelmed by the crowds at OIA.

    "I did expect it to be crazy," he said. "I heard this was the busiest time of the year, so I thought it was going to be a lot busier."

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    Holiday crowds at Orlando International Airport underwhelming, travelers say