Thanksgiving travel beginning | airport, thanksgiving, travel - News - Northwest Florida Daily News

Thanksgiving Travel is Beginning

November 20, 2009 7:18 PM
Angel McCurdy
Daily News

With the Thanksgiving holiday around the corner and travel plans set, residents are urged to drive safely and get to the airport early.

Unlike last year, travelers seem to be getting a head start to Northwest Florida Regional Airport this weekend. More people seem to be visiting the Emerald Coast rather than leaving, said Okaloosa County Airports Director Greg Donovan.

To help with the crowds, Donovan said the airport has set up an overflow parking lot adjacent to the employee parking lot.

There will be added security during the peak travel days, which start this weekend and will pick up again Wednesday until the Sunday after Thanksgiving.

“It’s interesting,” Donovan said. “Traditionally, we won’t have as many travelers this early. People seem to be starting their holidays early this year.”

Donovan’s advice is to get to the airport on time and to know policies and procedures. For more information, go to TSA | Transportation Security Administration | U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The Florida Highway Patrol will take troopers away from desks and put them on the roads as the holiday approaches, said FHP Lt. Steve Preston.

The busiest time is expected to be Thursday through Sunday, but the extra troopers will hit the road Wednesday.

“We just ask that everybody drive responsibly,” Preston said. “Obey the speed limits, refrain from drinking and driving and don’t drive aggressively.”

For emergencies, Preston urges drivers to call *FHP.

It will be holiday business as usual for the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, said spokeswoman Michele Nicholson. Deputies will keep an eye out for people driving under the influence.

The busiest times are predicted to be the day before and the day after Thanksgiving, Nicholson said.

“On Friday, I’m sure there will be traffic jams around the shopping areas, so people need to keep their cool. Stay courteous, and slow traffic keep right,” she said.