Local

Orlando International Airport prepared for busy Thanksgiving weekend travel

ORLANDO, Fla. — There were long lines to check in bags early Saturday morning at the Orlando International Airport.

WATCH CHANNEL 9 EYEWITNESS NEWS

“Whenever we come in, we usually go to the counter and check our bags in really quick,” Malena Lopez, who was traveling through the airport, said. “My husband said let’s just check them in outside. We walked in, there’s so many people over there.”

Lines were backed up at different times throughout the morning to get through the security checkpoint.

That was something travelers didn’t think they would see so early in the day.

Read: 9 travel tips for families during holiday season

“A lot of people,” traveler Vincent Wicks said. “This is busy. I thought by us leaving on a 7:20 flight, it would be chill, but I guess not.”

There weren’t backed-up lines all day.

Airport officials said they were prepared for the nearly 187,000 people to travel through the airport Saturday.

Read: Central Florida’s airports and roads to see holiday travel rush Wednesday

They asked passengers to follow their 321 rule: being at the ticket counter three hours before a flight, in line for the security check point two hours before a flight, and at their gate one hour before a flight.

A family traveling back to Kansas City arrived well before the suggested time frame and spent the morning enjoying what they saw around the airport instead of rushing to get in line.

“We pulled into the rental car place; it was actually moving pretty smoothly,” Carlie Kisor said. “We did get here 5 hours early, so we can’t check our bags yet.” Her daughter, Cora, noticed something else. “I’ve seen that tree, a bird fly out of it. I can’t believe there are birds in this airport.”

Click here to download our free news, weather and smart TV apps. And click here to stream Channel 9 Eyewitness News live.