Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Tips for Surviving 2019 Spring Break Flights in Tampa

2019 is expected to be the busiest Spring Break in Tampa in history!

As college students begin arriving this week, the Tampa Bay airports are preparing for what is being touted as the 'busiest spring break ever'.

Spring Break at Clearwater Beach

The influx of passengers has already begun at Tampa International Airport, which expects up to 3.6 million passengers over the coming weeks. If estimates ring true, that will be an 8.8 percent increase over last year! The number of passengers arriving daily is estimated to be up around 80,000 or 90,000.

TPA will be increasing police presence, enhanced guest services and more cleaners & janitors, as well as increasing staffing in shops and restaurants. The Federal Transportation Security Administration will provide extra officers at peak times.

St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport projects that it will see 240,000 passengers in March; the Pinellas airport has 171 flights scheduled this week and that number will rise to 180, 180 and 186 over the following three weeks.


  • Arrive early, at least two hours before your flight.

  • When picking up passengers at Tampa International, use the cell phone lot or the first free hour of the short-term parking garage. Waiting at the arriving flights curb is not permitted.

  • At St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport, build even more extra time into your schedule. That's because road construction this week moved the main airport entrance to a spot near the control tower.

    The normal direct access from 46th Street to the Airport Parkway will no longer be available. Instead, you will need to use the new main entrance. Drivers headed to the Key Lime economy parking lot and the airport employee parking lot across Roosevelt Boulevard from the airport should turn onto 144th Avenue.

    To get to the more distant Strawberry economy parking lot north of the airport, take Airport Parkway to Fairchild Drive. Parking shuttles are also expected to take longer, so be sure to plan ahead and allow enough time. Visitors picking up passengers should use the cellphone lot or long-term parking lot. For more information, call (727) 453-7800.

  • Leave your pets at home unless they're flying or are a service animal. Tampa's airport recently tightened this rule, and the Pinellas airport does not allow pets, only service animals, in its terminal.

  • Before leaving home, check your pockets and carry-on luggage for any items — guns, ammunition, flammable or sharp items — not permitted through security screening.

  • For travel alerts and updates, follow Tampa International Airport at @FlyTPA and St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport at @iflypie on Twitter.

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