Airlines and airports prepare for busy summer travel season

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Wednesday, April 26, 2023
Airlines and airports prepare for busy summer travel season
If you're planning to go overseas, check your passport in advance.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- On a Wednesday in April, the parking deck at Raleigh-Durham International Airport is already full of people getting away.

"We're going to Puerto Rico," Jorge Joya said.

It's a preview of what travelers can expect this summer as millions of Americans plan vacations. However, it comes as the travel industry is already facing challenges linked to shortages.

"We're already expecting delays all across the Northeast New York, Philadelphia, etc.," managing editor at The Points Guy, Clint Henderson said. "And then I would say there's still a shortage of available seats on planes."

He said there's also a surge in demand for international destinations.

"For international travel, you really want to be booking already," Henderson said. "We're already seeing prices creep up."

If you're planning to go overseas, check your passport in advance.

The U.S. State Department said it can take up to 13 weeks to process passport applications and more than two months if you pay for faster service.

ALSO SEE: Passport applications are taking longer to process with record year for new applicants

The Wake County Register of Deeds is offering early morning appointments and applications that you can fill out online to save time.

"While we can't control any backlog of passport processing on the State Department end, we can make sure your application is fully completed for you and help make this front-end process as quick and painless as possible for anyone applying," the Wake County Government said.

Nearly 1,000 people used the Wake County Register of Deeds passport services in March.

Meanwhile, airlines and airports are doing what they can to prepare for the big crowds.

RDU is working with the TSA that held another hiring event on Wednesday to get ahead of staff shortages and recruit people like Patrick Evans, who hopes to get hired.

"I'm just ready to work," Evans said.

More than 1.1 million people flew through RDU in March for spring break. As officials expect the airport to be even busier this summer, they said they're prepared.

"We're looking at not just growth but building," RDU spokesperson Stephanie Hawco said. "So we will be looking at projects like expanding terminals, adding gates over the long term but also improving roads. Expanding parking, all the things that our customers need and we're going to fill those needs for them."