Busy Thanksgiving travel season kicks off

Delays and parking lot closures likely due to increased passenger traffic; be prepared with information.

A busy travel season is approaching at airports across the country and Sacramento International Airport will be no exception.  Passenger traffic has increased 7.1 percent year-to-date over last year. Customers should expect longer-than-usual waits at the TSA security check point, and may find that their preferred parking options are not available, especially the day before Thanksgiving, the day of and the day after.

Airport staff recommend travelers arrive at least two hours in advance of flight departure and be prepared for lines at airport parking facilities, ticket counters, and the security checkpoint.

The good news for holiday travelers flying through Terminal A is that new restaurants await them post-security. Local favorites Squeeze Inn, Paesano’s, and the Iron Horse Tavern join Freshii, Vino Volo, and Peet’s Coffee & Tea on the Terminal A concourse.  Musicians will be performing at both terminals at selected time periods on Nov. 24 and Nov. 25 to spread holiday cheer and members of the Boarding Area Relaxation Corp. pet therapy program will be on hand to comfort harried travelers.

The Thanksgiving rush starts Friday, Nov. 20 and ends Monday, Nov. 30. Here are some savvy tips to prepare for this busy time:


  • Parking is available on a first-come, first-served basis, so know your options. The Economy Lot ($10/day) will fill and close before Thanksgiving. The Daily Lot ($12/day) is minutes from both terminals by walking or taking a shuttle, but it may fill to capacity by Thanksgiving. Covered parking is available at the garage for $17/day and will be your most hassle-free parking option on Nov. 25, Nov. 26 and Nov. 27.
  • For entrances to both the daily lot and the garage, follow the roadway signs guiding vehicles toward Terminal A.
  • Sacramento International Airport is pleased to offer expanded ground transportation options to travelers this year. These include taxicabs, SuperShuttle, offsite van and shuttle bus companies, Yolobus public transportation, and on-demand transportation companies like Uber, Lyft, and Wingz.
  • The fastest way to exit airport parking is to use a credit card, not cash, and to use the pre-payment machines located on the 1st, 3rd and 5th floors of the parking garage, the economy lot and the hourly B lot.
  • Check the TSA website to see current regulations for carry-on items.
  • Prepare for the security checkpoint like a savvy traveler. Wear slip-on shoes, remove metals items and place them in your carry-on bag before getting in line, have your ID and boarding pass in hand,  and don’t forget to have those liquids and gels in 3.4 ounce containers ready to put in the bin for screening.
  • Avoid taking off your shoes entirely by enrolling in the TSA Pre Check program. Pre Check travelers are eligible for expedited security screening.  It’s too late for Thanksgiving but if you act quickly, you may be able to experience the benefits of Pre Check by Christmas.


  • Waiting or parking at the curb is strictly prohibited by federal regulations. Avoid circling the terminal by using the free waiting area, also known as the cell phone lot. Located at Crossfield and Lindberg streets, it lets visitors park for free until their passenger calls to say they have gotten their bags and are at the curb ready to be picked up.  It’s a two-minute drive from the free waiting area to either terminal.
  • The doors at Terminal B are numbered and designated by airline name.  Tell your passenger to pick a numbered door to stand by. Tip: Traffic is most heavy by doors 1 and 2. It may be easier to pick up passengers outside doors 3 or 4
  • It takes on average 20 minutes for passengers to make their way to baggage claim once the plane has landed.
  • Follow the airport’s Facebook page and Twitter pages for travel tips.

Need more information before traveling? Email air-market@saccounty.net at least two business days before you leave.

This message is sent on behalf of the Sacramento International Airport. Lead image courtesy of SMF.