As media stories abound of travelers’ frustrations at crowded airports, Santa Barbara Airport looks like a familiar oasis to Central Coast residents traveling this season. Even with a significant increase in travelers this week, Airport officials expect a steady and efficient processing of passengers from curbside to gate-side. The Airport expects Friday, December 23 to be the busiest day with about 2,000 arriving and departing passengers, and Monday – Tuesday, December 26-27 to be busy as well. With so many local social media enthusiasts, there’s also been an uptick in residents who “check in” on Facebook every day and leave ratings and comments, both accolades and suggestions (SBA can be found at www.facebook.com/santabarbaraairport).
The increase in passengers continues a strong upward trend for SBA, where passenger numbers grew by nearly 13% in the month of November, as a result of additional departures and larger aircraft to serve passenger demand. The Airport expects to finish 2016 with an overall 5.5% increase over 2015.
Checking-in online prior to arrival at the airport saves time, however, if checking bags, travelers must observe the minimum check-in times for each airline to assure making their flight with their bags. As a rule of thumb, arriving at the Airport 60-90 minutes before departure will allow passengers time to get through security, get a bite to eat or take advantage of the Airport’s free WiFi as part of a stress-free travel experience.
One unique aspect to December holiday travel is that many passengers bring gifts with them to the plane. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recommends bringing unwrapped gifts to the checkpoint in the event a gift needs closer examination by security.