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Airports gear up for busiest weekend since Sept. 11th

Daily Planet Wire Report
Friday May 24, 2002

All three Bay Area airports are expecting an especially heavy flow of travelers to pass through their terminals this Memorial Day weekend, perhaps the highest numbers since the Sept. 11 attacks traumatized American air travel. 

San Jose International Airport spokesman Steve Luckenbach said Thursday that he expects the facilities in Terminal A, which houses Southwest Airlines and American Airlines, “to be strained tremendously.” 

Luckenbach said passengers should allow for two hours of waiting time in the terminal, instead of the normal 90-minute advance arrival. But he said plenty of long-term and short-term parking will be available. 

Friday will be the heaviest air travel day, according to Luckenbach, but the spike in travel will continue until Tuesday. 

Luckenbach said the Memorial Day weekend traditionally runs just behind Thanksgiving and Christmas as the busiest travel days of the year. 

But he expects this weekend's numbers to be the highest since September. 

San Francisco International Airport spokesman Mike McCarron said that SFO will have a “big bump today” in traffic, as well as through the weekend, but that the airport will not be strained past capacity.  

McCarron said this weekend is not only the kickoff for summer travel, but also coincides with college students leaving school and heading home or on vacation. He expects Friday and Saturday to be the busiest SFO has been in a while.  

He said travelers should observe regular advance arrival times, 90 minutes to two hours for domestic flights and at least two hours for international flights.  

He also said there will be ample parking for all those using the airport. 

Oakland International Airport will be opening extra security checkpoints and scheduling more staff to speed security screening this weekend, which is expected to see 20 percent more travelers than usual, according to airport spokeswoman Jo Murray. 

Friday and Tuesday will see the heaviest traffic, with some 40,000 people moving through the airport. 

Murray said domestic passengers should arrive at the airport 90 minutes before their scheduled departure, two hours prior if their flight leaves before 9 a.m.  

Travelers on international flights should arrive three hours ahead of time.  

The parking lots at the Oakland airport are expected to be full over the weekend.