Bay Area airports warn of long delays ahead of holiday weekend travel

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The Friday before Memorial Day weekend is the fourth busiest air travel day of the year.

The Friday before Memorial Day weekend is the fourth busiest air travel day of the year.

If you're flying, plan ahead. The TSA is being put to the test this holiday weekend. Staffing is down while passenger numbers are way up.

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At Mineta San Jose International, the challenge is an influx of 5,000 additional flyers over its normal volume of 14,000 with the biggest volume hitting from 5 a.m. to 7:30 a.m., noontime, and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The TSA put agents on overtime. The airport and airlines are helping, too.

"They're bringing in contract staff to manage the bins at the security screening lines and to communicate with passengers on how best to divest of their jackets and their keys and all of their personal items," said Rosemary Barnes, spokesperson at Mineta International.

Airports are adding more flights to more places, reflecting passenger demand. San Jose is no exception.

"We expect by this August to have double digit growth to the tune of 16 percent increase in passengers over the previous time last year," said Barnes.

And that could mean longer lines and wait times during peak travel periods.

Travelers at some major hubs have seen hours long wait times causing some to miss flights. TSA lines are fully staffed, with K9 teams in place. Airport officials are advising passengers to arrive 2 to 3 hours early.

"I think it makes you nervous and adds a little more stress, but I think it will be ok. And it won't be a problem," said Dylan Jordan, a San Jose resident.

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Robin Eastwood is flying to Denver. Her trick to skip the long lines is to pack light.

"I literally only pack clothes. There's no liquids, no nothing," she said.

Meanwhile at SFO, they are expecting 81,000 travelers. Most flights are full and passengers are being advised to check-in 2 hours early.

At Oakland International, passengers are also being told to arrive 2 hours ahead of time.

Security checkpoints are averaging a ten minute wait.

RELATED: TSA Head: Lines won't make for 'summer of misery'

It's also going to be busy on the roads. The CHP starts its maximum enforcement period Friday night through Monday night.

The Santa Clara Police Department is also holding a DUI checkpoint Friday night near Stevens Creek Boulevard and Winchester Boulevard.

That's right by Valley Fair Mall and Santana Row.

AAA is predicting 34 million Americans will drive 50 miles or more for Memorial Day weekend. That would make this the busiest Memorial Day weekend in about 10 years.

Waze recommends you avoid driving Friday, with peak traffic between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.

The best day to travel is Sunday - less traffic is actually expected than on a normal Sunday.

Related Topics:
travelu.s. & worldairport newsairport securityairplaneTSApassengertravel tipstravelmemorial daybay areaSan Francisco International AirportMineta San Jose International AirportOakland International AirportSanta Clara
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