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Holiday travel starts earlier than traditional dates, but not chaotic at the Santa Barbara airport

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Holiday travelers are showing signs they are ready to go this season.

Already flights are heavily booked at the Santa Barbara airport starting this week, well ahead of the traditional Thanksgiving week four to five day schedule.

Airport Marketing Specialist, Angi Daus says, for the year overall will be the busiest in its history.

At the end of October, the passenger count exceeded a million for the first time.  It nearly got there in 2019 but fell short.

Even with the increased number of travelers, the scene has not been chaotic as is often seen at airports.

The farthest parking lot from the terminal, on Hollister Avenue, has a 24-hour shuttle every 15 minutes.

The airport currently offers service from four airlines and the passenger count is up 20 percent from 2019.

On average the planes are carrying about 109 passengers. In 2004, smaller planes were used with a passenger average of 42.

"We are planning to have a full week and a half of very busy travel  here," said Daus.
"People have started to expand their travel plans to get away from those busy days."

She says the planes may be larger and often full, but they are also very comfortable. "The airlines have put great effort to make their experience for their passengers much more lovely to be honest."

A passenger who also works at Montecito Village Travel said she sees a big return to traveling by air.

"Oh it's back,  100 percent probably 110.   It's all the way back," said Jane Scarcello.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has new technology in place to make baggage check easier and less complicated for the passengers.

Daus says passengers counts are increasing starting this weekend. She says some of the very early morning flights are usually crowded and require an early arrival.

She suggests you check with the airlines and go over the TSA rules on what you can take on board, in what sizes, and especially the quantities of liquids.

There's also been an upgrade to the TSA equipment. "It's a high level of security tracking everyone's stuff and I have seen fewer people pulled aside  because of that equipment," said Daus.

One passenger who lives in Ventura County and works in Santa Barbara, came north to avoid Los Angeles International Airport for his flight. Gary Brown said, "I work out out here in Santa Barbara and so we parked my car at my work and took the Uber here and it's so simple and easy. "

A part time resident who goes back and forth to Dallas said, customer service across the board was very impressive. Dana Gerard compared it by saying, "in terms of their attitude they are a cut above.  I appreciate that.   They go out of their way to be very kind you don't find that in every airport." 

Her husband said, ""you get off your plane you walk over and pick up your luggage in two minutes, you don't wait 45 minutes for it."

For more information go to: Fly SBA

Article Topic Follows: Travel
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John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT News Channel 3-12. To learn more about John, click here.


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