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Indianapolis airport prepares for busy final week of 2021

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Passengers at Indianapolis International Airport on Monday said a little planning goes a long way toward minimizing travel headaches.

Cameron Bacon is heading to Boston to spend New Year’s Eve with his sister. He says he always minimizes the possessions he carries on his person to ensure he can move through security quickly.

Bacon was among thousands of passengers streaming through the airport Monday. Airport officials say the period surrounding Christmas and New Year’s is the busiest time of the year, though daily totals never quite match Thanksgiving.

“In Thanksgiving, you have everybody rushing out at a single point and everybody coming back at a single point,” Indianapolis Airport Authority Executive Director Mario Rodriguez said. “For the Christmas holiday and the New Year’s holiday, it spreads out a little bit more.”

Rodriguez says even on the busiest days of the year, it rarely takes more than about 30 minutes to go through security. Still, he says it’s a good idea to arrive at least two hours before your flight is scheduled to depart. Rodriguez says passenger volume overall has yet to return to pre-pandemic levels but the spikes, particularly around holidays, are getting close to normal.

“This is an evolutionary period for the industry. There’s a lot less business travel, there’s a lot more leisure travel, there’s a lot of pent-up excitement for travel and people haven’t traveled for a long time,” he said.

The federal mask mandate for airline passengers remains in effect. Rodriguez says despite highly-publicized incidents of unruly passengers getting into fights over mask requirements, almost all flights have no such incidents. He says free masks are available in the terminal if someone loses theirs.

Bacon says the mask requirement and other COVID measures have made airline travel much more difficult, but he feels safer with the requirements in place.