Holiday travel picking up at JIA

Airport personnel remind travelers how to make traveling process quick, easy


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Highways, trains and airports are expected to be packed over the next few days, with it really picking up Friday.

Jacksonville International Airport expects hundreds of thousands of travelers to pass through its terminals.

People heading out of JIA or expecting guests to come through should be aware of some changes and be reminded of what to do to make traveling as easy and quick as possible.

This year there is a special events parking lot that opened up Friday morning. Those who have parked at the airport before know it can be costly. But the special events lot gives travelers a cheaper option this holiday season at JIA.

There's a sign entering JIA that says, "Happy holidays and safe travels." It's a message that's already greeted nearly 300,000 people flying out of JIA since Wednesday.

With hundreds of thousands of more people expected, JIA wants to make everyone's trips in or out headache free, and it starts with parking.

"We have a great parking option for those who are traveling," Michael Stewart, of JIA said. "Going to be out of town for several days, it's $20 and it's a great deal."

Stewart said travelers can park in the special events lot, right next to Economy Lot 2, then take the free shuttle to the terminal. It's all for that $20 flat rate from Friday until Jan. 5.

Friday will be the airport's busiest day of the week, kicking off the holiday weekend.

"I think this time is cheaper than the weekend, which is everyone traveling for holiday," Stewart said.

With snow storms rolling through the Midwest, don't let Florida's sunshine mislead you -- it could still affect your flight.

"The weather may be good here, but where they're going or where they're changing planes there may be some weather challenges, so always check with the airlines even if you are coming to pick someone up," Stewart said.

The Jacksonville Aviation Authority said anyone catching a flight should be at the ticket counter an hour before departure, not leaving the house an hour before or pulling in an hour before.

The wait to get through security unpredictable, especially during the holidays.

To get through as quickly as possible, check TSA.gov for the latest restrictions. Even if you're a frequent flier, things often change.