Record numbers in air travel expected this holiday season

FILE - In this July 8, 2015, file photo, United Airlines and United Express planes prepare to take off at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston. United Continental reports quarterly financial results Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, FIle)
FILE - In this July 8, 2015, file photo, United Airlines and United Express planes prepare to take off at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston. United Continental reports quarterly financial results Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, FIle)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — The holidays are right around the corner, and more people are projected to travel via airplane this year.

Airports around the country may be more crowded than past years.

Sarah Hubbard, an aviation professor at Purdue, said air travel has increased four percent this year – a pretty big jump for the industry.

“Holiday is a peak travel time … so anybody who travels should make sure they’re really prepared for anything,” Hubbard said.

That includes preparing for long lines through security, bad weather and flight delays.

In the case you do become tied up at an airport longer than expected, you can prepare ahead of time.

“It’s always a good idea to pack your necessities in your carry-on bag. In case you are delayed somewhere, you can be ready to accommodate that,” she said.

Even though flying can be a pain, there are initiatives to help alleviate the experience. Over the summer, Congress passed legislation aimed to shorten long lines and cut down on security wait times.

Hubbard said airports and airliners have collaborated with the Transportation Security Administration to step up services.

“We are definitely seeing growth in the industry, and I do think we are looking at passenger service. Airlines and airports are really working to provide the best possible service,” Hubbard said.

There’s even apps aimed at helping travelers keep track of wait times at airports, navigate a terminal and find additional services.

“There is a lot of technology in terms of increasing efficiency of the security lines,” Hubbard said. “Passengers can also go get signed up for programs like PreCheck and Global Entry so they actually provide a little additional information about themselves and then they can get through security more quickly.”

Hubbard has some advice to ensure an optimal flight experience.

“Extra time at the beginning will give you some peace of mind while traveling,” she said.