CLEARWATER, Fla. - This week is expected to be an exceedingly busy one for travel, especially at St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport, where officials are warning those planning to park and fly to plan ahead.
“We came in here and it was a half an hour to get back out of here and then get over to the other parking lot and get back,” passenger Ronald Briscoe said.
Officials are urging flyers to drop them off, take a cab or use a car service like Uber or Lyft.
“We don't want anybody to miss their flight," said Michelle Routh, airport spokesperson. "Don't want anybody to feel frustrated. So, if you can have a nice easy convenience of being dropped off and not worry about it, terrific.”
The airport has seen double digit growth for the past five years, fueled in large part by Allegiant Airlines, which services nearly 90 percent of the airport's destinations.
“They’ve increased the flight numbers,” traveler Pam Briscoe said. “And there’s no place to park.”
PIE doubled its parking capacity two years ago by adding nearly 1,000 new spaces, and more new spaces are planned for next year.
But with a projected record of more than two million passengers using the airport this year, finding a parking spot this holiday season could be tougher than finding space on a flight.
Once the long term and overflow lots are full, there are few other parking options.
“There are no private parking lots around the airport,” Routh said. “So, it is what the airport has provided.”
Routh added that the airport would rather lose some parking revenue this year than have frustrated passengers circling the lot and possibly even missing their flights.
Officials are also asking passengers to give themselves at least two hours of lead-time because of traffic issues caused by nearby construction projects.
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