TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa International Airport (TPA) plans to open the new Blue Express Curbsides specifically for passengers without checked bags, the airport said in a news release.
These new express curbsides will make TPA the first airport in the country to launch this feature for the passengers. TPA says this will "allow passengers to get to and from their gates faster, bypassing the ticketing or bag claim levels and improving the overall passenger experience."
The eight Blue Express Curbside lanes are expected to open Nov. 16 just in time for travels during the Thanksgiving holiday.
"Passenger needs and expectations are changing," TPA CEO Joe Lopano said. "Our Blue Express Curbsides will better serve our guests and enhance an already smooth experience. On top of that, we'll also be making our Main Terminal more efficient, decongesting busy areas and helping us prolong the life of our facilities."
Passengers flying on American Airlines, Delta Airlines, United Airlines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Copa Airlines, Cayman Airways and Swift Air will be able to use the curbsides located on the airport's Blue Side, the release explains. The Red Side will get eight additional curbsides which are expected to be completed in 2025.
"We take great pride in our legacy of innovation at TPA. This revolutionary project further cements our place as industry leaders, promoting smart growth that will translate into a positive economic impact for our region," Lopano said.
This new addition opening to the public means people dropping off passengers on the Blue Side will have to choose the Express Curbside lanes or the standard curbside lanes if they don't have a checked bag.
It also means after the arriving passengers get up to the transfer level of the Main Terminal, drivers picking up travelers without a checked bag will choose the "Express Pick-up Curbside lanes."
TPA says the airport has put up signs throughout the roadways to point drivers in the right direction.
"It's pretty straightforward: If you're checking bags, use the traditional full-service curbs. If you're not, go to express," TPA's Executive Vice President of Operations and Customer Service John Tiliacos said.
"We believe guests will pick up on the change quickly and appreciate this feature, but we'll also do everything in our power to make sure the transition is as smooth as possible."
This new addition of express curbside is one of the projects of the TPA's Master Plan Phase 2 expansion, which also includes "roadway widening, construction of a new office building/atrium to enable further growth and the addition of a new taxiway bridge for planes."
Construction on this expansion began in late 2019 and will continue into 2025, the airport explained.