TLH numbers near pre-pandemic levels during Thanksgiving holiday

More than 100,000 passengers are expected to travel through TLH between Thanksgiving and the...
More than 100,000 passengers are expected to travel through TLH between Thanksgiving and the end of the year.(WCTV)
Published: Nov. 24, 2021 at 5:47 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The Tallahassee International Airport is getting a boost at the end of the year, with more than 100,000 passengers expected to walk through its doors between Thanksgiving and the end of the year.

Deputy Director of Aviation, Jim Durwin, says the ten days around Thanksgiving are projected to have 20,000 passengers traveling through TLH.

Those numbers are near pre-pandemic levels, almost equal to 2019.

“We’ve seen a slow build all week,” Durwin said.

At TLH, the early mornings and early evenings are especially busy. Durwin recommends arriving 90 minutes ahead of time for a flight.

TSA reminders

Masks are required inside the airport and on planes.

In the wake of an incident in Atlanta, when a gun discharged in the airport, the TSA is also reminding passengers that guns are not allowed in carry-on bags.

In 2021 so far, nine guns have been intercepted in Tallahassee.

TSA spokesperson Sari Koshetz spoke about the high number of guns in airports in 2021.

“With this week and the busy Christmas travel period still to go in 2021, the stage is set for an unfortunate and dangerous record, a record that no airport wants to set.” said Koshetz. “Many will top 2019′s gun numbers even while passenger volumes still remain lower than in that pre-pandemic year. FLL and MIA already have.”

The TSA had six tips for getting through security safely and efficiently.

  1. No guns in carry-ons.
  2. Wear a face mask.
  3. Leave all prohibited items at home.
  4. Prepare for the security checkpoint.
  5. Get live assistance by tweeting your questions and comments to @AskTSA in English or Spanish or via Facebook Messenger. You can also call the TSA Contact Center at 866-289-9673.
  6. Consider enrolling in TSA PreCheck®.

If you’re unsure if an item is allowed, you can use the “What Can I Bring?” page on

Heartwarming reunions

Leon High School graduates Franchesca Lagos and Kaki Kirk arrived at the airport together to pick up their friend from college.

“We haven’t seen him since probably August? Yeah, since he left for school!” they said. “We are so excited!”

Their friend attends the University of Cincinnati and was surprised by their handmade sign.

He said he’d been awake since 5:00 a.m., and he wasn’t the only traveler who’d had a long day.

Kathy Nelson traveled from Chicago to see her mother, Pat Nelson.

“We got up at 4:15!” Kathy laughed.

She said the trip is worth it.

“Oh my gosh, it’s great. I can’t believe it. To see everybody, the whole family,” Nelson said.

Some were already thinking ahead to the Thanksgiving feast, including Jeffry Santiago, headed to Houston to be with his wife after spending time with his mother in Tallahassee.

“Just don’t eat too much! I gotta go see more family, so you know I don’t want to gain too much weight here!” Santiago said.

Anthony and Jean Foster were headed across the ocean to London to see their daughter and grandchildren for the first time in years.

“It’s fabulous,” Foster said. “Although it’s a lot of paperwork! You have to fill out all the forms, vaccine things, blah blah, but still we’re able to go!”

FSU student Daniel Leader arrived at the airport two hours early, ready to spend Thanksgiving in south Florida.

“I don’t get to see my family that often because they live in Miami, all the way down at the bottom of Florida, so, just to be able to see them again!” Leader said, describing his excitement.

The trip came at the right time for David Kraemer, who was headed to Dallas. He has family there, and they intend to memorialize a friend who recently passed away from a long battle with ALS.

“He’s not just a buddy, he’s a brother. It’s going to make this trip so much better celebrating his life, you know. And then it’s Thanksgiving. So much to be thankful for,” Kraemer said.

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