Transportation

Sacramento airport warns of increased holiday crowds

Expect bigger crowds, longer lines, full parking lots, and some ‘therapy dogs’ to pet at Sacramento International Airport this holiday season.
Expect bigger crowds, longer lines, full parking lots, and some ‘therapy dogs’ to pet at Sacramento International Airport this holiday season. rbenton@sacbee.com

Sacramento International Airport officials are warning holiday fliers to expect bigger crowds and longer lines this Thanksgiving and Christmas season, starting this weekend.

With passenger levels up more than 7 percent this year, officials say the airport’s economy parking lot may fill up earlier in the week than normal, and that the daily A and B parking lots also may fill up during some peak days.

The higher-priced covered parking garage, which serves both terminals, is not expected to fill up, airport spokeswoman Laurie Slothower said. Motorists will be directed to that garage when other lots have filled.

“We are expecting a robust travel season,” Slothower said. “There will be some people who are surprised.”

The economy lot often fills by Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, Slothower said, but she warned it may fill this year a day or two earlier.

Slothower advised that the quickest way to exit airport parking lots is by using a credit card instead of cash, and by using pay machines before getting into the car. In the garage, the machines are on the first, third and fifth floors.

The increased number of fliers, a reflection of the improving economy, likely will lead to longer lines at security checkpoints and ticket counters, she said. “We are asking people to get here at least two hours early. Be flexible. Review your options.”

Travelers who sign up for the federal TSA Pre-Check program can go through security more quickly. People who are coming to pick up passengers at the airport should wait at the cellphone lot near the front entrance to the airport.

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Terminal A will have some new restaurants, post-security, this year, including Squeeze Inn, Paesano’s and the Iron Horse Tavern.

Musicians will perform in both terminals on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week. The Boarding Area Relaxation Corp. pet therapy program will be on duty.

Tony Bizjak: 916-321-1059, @TonyBizjak

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