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PBIA reports record passengers since April with busy holiday season expected

Few delays from New York after a car exploded on a bridge connecting New York and Canada.
Posted at 10:57 PM, Nov 22, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-23 10:56:14-05

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Thousands of travelers are expected to fly to and from Palm Beach International Airport this Thanksgiving season, adding to a record number since April.
 
On Wednesday, there were a few delays at PBIA from airports such as LaGuardia and Newark after a car exploded on a bridge connecting New York and Canada.

"Our operations remain unchanged at this time because of the incident," Joe Harrington, the director of marketing and communications for PBIA, said. "We maintain the highest security standards for passengers."
 
Harrington couldn't go into details but said that there is more security and staff at the airport simply because of the Thanksgiving holiday demand.
 
"We do expect that it will be more crowded than last year as the airport has been experiencing record passenger volumes ever since around April," Harrington said
 
One of those travelers was Alexandria Angel, who is traveling to Raleigh, North Carolina.

Alexandria Angel was traveling to Raleigh, North Carolina, from PBIA. Nov. 22, 2023
Alexandria Angel was traveling to Raleigh, North Carolina, from PBIA.Khalil McLean/

She said she works in retail and won a contest at work that gave her time off for Black Friday.

"In fashion, Black Friday is like our Super Bowl so while everybody else is rushing around we're also rushing around in the retail space so it's nice to go home to the Carolinas and get a little breather," Angel said.

"Does it give you a little bit of anxiety traveling so close to the holiday?" WPTV reporter Joel Lopez asked.
 
"Honestly anywhere else I would, like Charlotte airport, I'm a little trepidatious about, but PBI I'm super lucky because this is all the traffic we get," Angel replied.
 
Airport staff estimates upwards of 40,000 travelers around Thanksgiving but said they've noticed more people are flying well before and after the holiday.

"Perhaps that might be because people have more flexibility with remote work and such. Maybe they got out of town earlier and so we could see a later return as well," said Harrington.

They said PBIA has seen a record number of 7.5 million passengers so far this year, like Kay Bixler.

Kay Bixler traveled from Wisconsin to PBIA. Nov. 22, 2023
Kay Bixler traveled from Wisconsin to PBIA.

"So you're really bundled up, where are you traveling from?" Lopez said.
 
"I am bundled up because I came from Wisconsin where it was really chilly this morning like 30 degrees."

 She flew into PBIA to visit her son and future daughter-in-law.

 "The day before Thanksgiving that's a little risky wouldn't you say?" Lopez asked.
 
"It is a little risky but that's OK if we had to do turkey on Friday. That'd be OK," Bixler said.
 
PBIA officials are encouraging people to get to the airport early as they expect travel to remain busy at least for the next week.

"Get there early, plan ahead. Expect that you may have to park a little bit farther than usual. The screening lines may be a little bit longer because the airport is definitely busy," Harrington said.