Today may be busiest day for airports ever, TSA says


Today is expected to be the busiest day for airports ever, amid the busiest summer travel season in history.

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The Transportation Security Administration projected that agents will screen more than 2.7 million people today alone. In total from June 28 to July 9, TSA expects to screen more than 28 million passengers and airline crew members.

Aviation expert Jay Ratliff said during this highly trafficked summer, about 2.5 million passengers fly each day.

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The Dayton International Airport is likely to see slightly more traffic than usual today, but still standard for this time of year, director of aviation for the city and airport Terrence Slaybaugh said.

“I think that’s the amazing thing —that we can break records and handle the amount of traffic we do, in normal conditions, without inconveniencing people,” Slaybaugh said.

To avoid missing a flight, arrive at the airport at lease two hours in advance, said Ratliff. Flights start boarding about 30 minutes in advance, and most airlines expect passengers to be at the gate by at least 20 minutes prior or travelers could risk their seats being given away to standby passengers.

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A spokesman for TSA cautioned that the passenger counts could fall short of the record if, for example, a thunderstorm shuts down a major airport for several hours. The last thing passengers want is to have something hold them up in lines, Ratliff said.

“Believe it or not, they will take fireworks,” Ratliff said. “I try to remind them that we call those explosives.”

He said while Dayton- and Cincinnati-area flyers are spoiled with never having to wait too long in lines, mechanical and other issues can take travelers from having enough time to having no time.

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“People are booking these tickets out nine months in advance,” he said. “Why in the world would you risk it.”

Friday’s official count isn’t expected before next week.

TSA’s single-day record of screening 2.71 million people occurred the Sunday after Thanksgiving in 2004. The Friday before the July 4 holiday last year is the third-busiest day on record.

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