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Record Number Of Holiday Travelers Expected At Tampa International Airport

Tampa airport officials are asking passengers to wait till they arrive at their destination to wrap their gifts.

Tampa International Airport officials are bracing for an influx of holiday travelers coming into and leaving the Tampa Bay area.

The airport saw a record number of passengers during the spring break season and the number of travelers during the 2017 Thanksgiving week was seven percent higher than their busiest year thus far.

Officials said they are expecting this trend to carry over into the Christmas and New Year holidays.

Emily Nipps, a spokesperson for Tampa International Airport, said travelers should be mindful of travel times and security procedures to ensure they arrive at their holiday destination on time.

"Tampa International Airport is a very easy airport to get through, so people are used to getting here at the last minute," Nipps said. "Definitely don't do that during the holiday season."

Officials are asking passengers to arrive at the airport 30 minutes to an hour before when they usually would. They should also check for delays and cancellations with the airline before arriving.

Despite what is shown in television commercials or movies, travelers should not try to take wrapped gifts on a flight, Nipps said. People should wait until they get to where they are going before putting the final touches on their presents.

"Wrapped gifts make it difficult for the TSA screeners," she said. "They might stop you and make you unwrap the gift. Not in every case, but if they do it really slows down the lines."

Travelers should also be aware of a new security screening procedure. Beginning in June 2017, all electronics larger than a cell phone will have to be taken out of carry-on luggage and scanned. 

For more travel tips, visit TSA.gov.

Roberto Roldan is a senior at the University of South Florida pursuing a degree in mass communications and a minor in international studies.
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