Garden City Regional Airport officials expect to see 100-300 more outbound passengers this month than they do on average.
According to Rachelle Powell, director of aviation for the Garden City airport, the month of December — and specifically the week leading up to Christmas — is the airport's peak travel period. During that time, flight capacities hit mid-90%. Outside of the peak period, flight capacities average about 80%.
"Typically in December, we range anywhere from 2,300 people departing to our peak, which was 2,500 people flying out of Garden City," Powell said.
Over the past five years, she added, the monthly average number of departing passengers has been about 2,200.
Powell doesn't expect that uptick in travelers to affect the airport's operations.
Powell said the airline recommends passengers arrive at the airport at least one hour before their flight time to ensure a smooth check-in process and security screening.
"That just helps you be able to go through the security process," Powell said, "as well as helps the airline staff process the flight to ensure a timely departure."
Powell said passengers should also know that the airport's only restaurant, Napolis, is open again. The Italian eatery had been closed for about four months because of a change in ownership.
"If folks want to come out and have lunch prior to the flight, it's a great option," Powell said. "They are closed on Mondays, but other than that, just allow some extra time to have a good Italian meal before you get on the plane."
Powell advises passengers who have questions about what they can and can't pack to visit the Transportation Security Administration's website at TSA.gov.
"It provides helpful guidelines on if you can take packages and should you wrap them or not wrap them, so that's a good guideline to use as a reference," she said.
According to a TSA news release earlier this month, 2019 has already been a record-breaking year for holiday travel.
The release noted that TSA screened more than 26 million passengers and crew members nationwide during the Thanksgiving travel period, which lasted Nov. 22-Dec. 2. More than 2.8 million travelers passed through TSA security checkpoints nationwide on Dec. 1, marking the busiest day ever in TSA's 18-year history.
Carrie Harmon, a public affairs representative for TSA, said that during the Thanksgiving travel period, TSA screened 826 departing passengers at the Garden City airport, 167 passengers at the Dodge City Regional Airport and 28,908 passengers at the Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport. The Wichita airport is the largest in Kansas.
Powell said the Garden City airport is on track this year to reach its yearly average number of passengers. Over the past five years, she said, a yearly average of 52,896 inbound and outbound passengers have traveled through Garden City on its American Airlines commercial service.