Expect Busy Airports This Summer

Despite the hard times falling on the airline industry, Houston airport officials expect record numbers of passengers this summer. They say to expect some lines and come prepared. Laurie Johnson has more.
Between the months of June, July and August, about 12 million people are expected to fly through Houston's airports.

Houston Airport System Safety Director Frank Haley says just like last summer — it's going to be busy.

"Get to the airport a couple of hours early, you have to go through the check point. We want to make the passenger/customer experience the best it can be. And the way to do that is to get here in plenty of time, to get a parking place if you need one or get dropped off, go through your check point, get to your gate, your flight."

All the usual flight rules still apply. If you have liquids in your carry-on, pack them in 3oz bottles inside a quart-sized zip-lock bag.

"We're still under a level orange and we don't see in the foreseeable future going below that. So for now the rules are still there, but I think people are getting used to the rules. And we appreciate that because people know to get here early, they know to expect to take their shoes off and all that sort of thing and to take the laptops out and video cameras and the like when they go through the check points. And that's helpful, that does help speed the lines up."

Airport employees say there hasn't been a noticeable drop in the number of passengers, despite ticket higher prices.

But Hobby Airport Federal Security Director Jim Marchand says there may be a little more confusion for passengers this year because of some of the extra baggage fees and flight cancellations. He highly recommends contacting your carrier to verify those changes.

"To find out, number one: they're flight is still going where it was programmed to go and number two: they know the baggage requirements. When you come to TSA we're going to process the bags that you bring with you. Of course they have to be able to fit through the x-ray. So if you're bringing a normal-size suitcase and not what we would consider carry-on, you're not going to be allowed to get that through the TSA. That's going to have to be checked into the belly of the plane."

And he says yes, some passengers have tried to carry on full-size suitcases in an effort to avoid the extra fees. And no, it doesn't work.

Laurie Johnson. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.
Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...