It's one of the busiest travel weekends of the year, with nearly 200,000 passengers expected to pass through Bush and Hobby airports on Saturday and Sunday. Those are some of the highest volume days of what aiport officials consider a 13-day holiday travel period, starting last Friday and continuing through Tuesday. The Houston Airport System's Roger Smith says a lot of that air traffic is spread out because of school schedules. "These days nearly all public school systems take the entire week of Thanksgiving off, so the crush of Thanksgiving travel is spread out over a period of about nine or ten days, whereas is used to be very, very busy on the Tuesday and Wednesday right before the holiday. So it's a lot easier for everyone, both the airports and the airlines, to handle what we get during Thanksgiving week," he says.
Officials say air traffic is slightly up this Thanksgiving holiday compared to last, with more than a million expected to have traveled before the end of Tuesday. Smith says the rules remain the same for those picking-up family members or dropping them off at the airport as the holiday winds down. "Active loading and unloading at curbside means that you either have to be getting in, getting out, or putting your luggage in or getting your luggage out while you're at curbside. If you're just sitting there, then the police or security officer will ask you to move along," he says.
Smith says for those who choose to wait inside the terminals at Houston's two big airports will find very affordable parking. "Bush Intercontinental and Hobby have as fine a parking rate as you'll ever see at big city airports. An hour and a half for $1 or $2 for three hours. You just can't beat that and in our secured parking garages there is ample space and people, if they want to do it that way, should take advantage of that," he says.
Intercontinental also has two cell phone lots near the airport, short-term parking areas where people wait until they're notified by passengers via cellphone that they've landed and are ready to be picked-up.