St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL) is gearing up for the start of the busy Thanksgiving holiday travel period, which gets underway this Friday, November 16. STL is projecting a four percent increase in departing passengers over a 10-day period that extends through Sunday, November 25. The Airport is forecasting approximately 182,000 passengers will check in and go through STL’s security checkpoints during this period. That’s an increase of more than 8,000 passengers from the 2017 Thanksgiving holiday travel period.
Peak days at STL are expected to be Sunday, November 25, with more than 24,000 check-ins, and Wednesday, November 21, with a projected 22,100 passengers checking in for departures. Friday, November 16 is expected to be the third busiest day of the Thanksgiving holiday travel period, with more than 20,000 passengers expected to check-in and go through the TSA security checkpoints at STL. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) expects to screen over 30 million passengers nationwide and is deploying additional canine and TSA officers across the country to assist with the increase in passengers.
Terminals and gate areas will be even more crowded with passengers connecting through STL. Connecting passenger traffic, which accounts for those passengers who have already cleared security at their originating airports, is riding a 24 percent increase so far this year at STL. STL has seen consecutive total passenger growth for the past 37 months.
Earlier this year, the TSA installed a state-of-the-art computed tomography (CT) checkpoint scanner at the C Concourse checkpoint in STL as part of a broader effort to enhance security screenings nationwide. TSA expects to have 40 units in airports throughout the country by the end of 2018 and more than 145 by the end of fiscal year 2019. This technology should reduce the amount of bag checks as passengers using this machine will be permitted to leave laptops and liquids in their carry-on bags, helping move passengers through the checkpoint more quickly.
The TSA and the airlines recommend the following travel tips for navigating the busiest travel days of the year:
- Arrive two hours ahead of scheduled boarding time, especially if checking luggage or flying internationally.
- Check the status of all flights to and from STL as updated by the airlines.
- Visit the TSA website to search what items can and cannot be brought through the TSA security checkpoint, such as liquids, which must be in 3.4 ounce or less containers.
- Learn more about TSA accepted forms of identification, or traveling with children, medical conditions or disabilities.
- Do not wrap holiday gifts. They should remain unwrapped for air travel.
- TSA Pre-Check is available at all checkpoints with participating airlines.
- Wheelchair assistance is provided by the airlines at no cost. This can be a big help for limited mobility or elderly travelers. For the best accommodation, contact the airline in advance to request a passenger assist agent.
- If picking up a passenger at STL airport, use one of the free cell phone lots instead of the parking garages.
- SuperPark has information for all options and real-time parking availability.