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11,000 Bookings Already: Airport Preps For Thanksgiving Travelers

By Christina Haley O'Neal, posted Nov 25, 2019
The number of boardings through the Wilmington International Airport over Thanksgiving week is expected to climb from the previous year, airport officials said Monday.

Preliminary numbers from the airlines indicate just over 11,000 bookings, or boardings, between Monday through Sunday, with the busiest days on Wednesday and Sunday, said Gary Broughton, deputy director at ILM.

That's a 6% increase from the nearly 10,400 boardings the previous year, he said.

“This is without a doubt the busiest holiday of the year because it's so condensed. Most of the people leave Tuesday or Wednesday and come back Sunday; whereas Christmas is spread out a little more," Broughton said. "A lot of people will go out for Christmas week and stay out past the New Year." 

The estimated figures for the Thanksgiving holiday this week include more than 1,800 boarded flights at ILM on Wednesday and 1,900 on Sunday.

Construction taking place at ILM for its expansion project will not impact travelers, Broughton said, adding that much of the work is taking place outside the airport. But weather delays outside Wilmington might be a potential factor for travelers.

"Travelers should also check with the airlines before heading out, especially with the winter weather that's being predicted in the Northeast ... you never knowing what the weather is doing at your destination and how that's going to impact your flight," Broughton said. 

Finding a parking spot may also be a little bit easier this year with a new parking space system ILM implemented this summer. The airport began tracking and posting online and on-site the number of spaces available for all lots in real-time. Travelers can check the availability on the airport’s website.

“I encourage passengers to take a look at that before they head to the airport, so they’ll have a good idea which parking lot they want to use and how many spaces are available. And that’s real-time. Every time a car goes in and out, that changes and on Airport Road, on the way in, there is an electronic sign that shows how many spaces in each lot," Broughton said. 

In September, the airport moved its employee parking, freeing up an additional 160 new parking spaces in what is now the North Daily customer lot, which opened in October, Broughton said.

ILM officials also recommend checking the TSA website for a list of items travelers can and cannot take on an aircraft.
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