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Thanksgiving Travel is Taking Off at Santa Barbara Airport

Santa Barbara Airport (SBA) is anticipating its busiest Thanksgiving holiday week since 2011.  Passenger numbers have been on the increase since June, and the month of November is solidly on track to beat last year’s numbers.  The Airport’s three commercial air carriers –Alaska, American, and United - have been filling up seats for travel in and out of Santa Barbara this week.  

In response to strong holiday demand, United Airlines has added additional departures including an early 5:15 am flight to San Francisco.  As many as four flights will depart to Denver during the peak days.  The TSA checkpoint lanes will be open and fully staffed by 4 am to accommodate more passengers, and particularly on the early morning departures.  “TSA has coordinated closely with the airport and the airlines to make sure the screening process goes smoothly,” said Tracy Lincoln, Operations Manager at SBA.  The busiest travel days are anticipated to be Saturday and Sunday as both days have more than 40 scheduled arriving and departing flights.

SBA is known by residents and visitors alike as the “Easy Come, Easy Go” airport for its intuitive terminal layout and efficient checkpoint operations. Passengers should remember, however, that most air carriers require passengers to be checked in and seated at the gate for boarding no later than 20 to 30 minutes prior to departure.  SBA also recommends allowing more time when checking in luggage.  Long term parking at SBA may reach capacity, but if needed, the Airport plans to provide additional spaces in the short term parking area.  Travelers should check with their airline for flight-specific information and with TSA (866-289-9673) for questions about allowable items through security.

As of November 1, SBA has experienced 3.6% growth in passengers and expects to finish the year with 5.2% annual growth in passengers.  


MEDIA AVAILABILITY: Airport Director Hazel Johns and Operations Manager Tracy Lincoln will be available for media interviews in the terminal on “grey Wednesday” November 23, when peak travel begins in earnest.



Last Updated: Aug 22, 2018
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