Manchester Airport anticipates fully booked flights, possible delays this weekend

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Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, Manchester, NH. Photo/Dan Tuohy

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In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport is usually buzzing with families and hundreds of college students taking to the skies trying to get to their loved ones. Ted Kitchens, the airport’s director, says the scene will repeat itself this weekend. But with higher passenger demand, some inconveniences may arise.

In 2021, the airport served 24,000 passengers departing during Thanksgiving week– about 2,000 passengers each day. In 2022, that number waned slightly to 1,850 passengers daily. But this year, Kitchen foresees that number reaching pre-pandemic figures with around 100 more seats available each day.

Kitchens predicts all those seats to be filled during the holiday travel season since flights have been consistently full this year, which could lead to delays.

“Remember to be understanding of potential flight interruptions or any delays,” Kitchens says. “Hopefully, it’s going to be good weather.”

As for Monday, when the outbound activity will be at its peak, Kitchens said passengers need to check the weather forecast and their flight information in advance.

The airport’s higher demand goes hand in hand with expected national and regional travel increments. AAA Northern New England reported New Englanders will be setting a new traveling record this holiday with 330,000 passengers flying for leisure, an increase of 6.2% from last year.

“It’s going to be a lot of people. Arrive at the airport a little earlier than normal just to ensure that you have a smooth experience through the TSA checkpoint,” Kitchens said.

The airport now offers a new parking tool that’ll help people take less time finding a spot, and two extra Computer Tomography X-ray examiners that allow passengers to keep their laptops or other electronics in their bags to reduce time at security.

Still, Kitchens says it’s important travelers arrive two hours before their scheduled departure and hopes people pack extra patience to not lash out against the airline’s workforce.

“Understand that it’s not the airline workers fault if their flight may be a little bit delayed,” he said. “[That’s] what the season is all about, which is to be thankful for all the blessings that we have and to be nice to each other.”

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About this Author

Gabriela Lozado

Gabriela Lozada is a Report for America corps member. Her focus is on Latinx community with original reporting done in Spanish for ¿Qué hay de Nuevo NH?. She has over 10 years of reporting experience and is an award-winning documentary filmmaker who specializes in covering social issues. Her documentary, “El Ultimo Hielero Del Chimborazo” (The Last Iceman of Chimborazo) and La Marea, are the films she is most proud of. She holds an MFA in filmmaking from the New York Film Academy.