NORFOLK, Va. — More than two million passengers took to the skies on Sunday following the Thanksgiving holiday, according to the Transportation Security Administration.
Last year, Norfolk International Airport (ORF) Authority leaders said they experienced the busiest November in the airport’s history. They expect to report the same record-breaking crowds this year.
Moyock resident Stafford Frederick was one of those travelers.
“Went to Boston with the family, had a good time, weather was beautiful,” Frederick said.
He and his family decided to travel home after the weekend rush. They didn't face any delays.
That’s the same experience Tabatha Evans had after her tropical turkey day.
"We went on a Royal Caribbean trip,” Evans said. “We went to the Dominican Republic, we went to Haiti, Aruba.”
Her only complaint was the end of a fun vacation.
“But coming back, we are like 'No!'” Evans said. “Fighting not to let it end.”
More than 300,000 passengers came through the airport in November 2021.
ORF Airport Authority Chief of Staff Steve Sterling said they saw the same crowds this year.
“We don’t have the final numbers yet, but the busiest travel days were the day before Thanksgiving, yesterday on Sunday.”
There is one new change to airport pickups this holiday season.
The week before Thanksgiving, Sterling said they opened a cell phone lot to help keep traffic from piling up. That lot is for anyone picking someone up.
“It’s intended to relieve some of the curbside congestion along the bag claim curbside, where our passengers are often picked up,” Sterling said.
The arrivals terminal curbside is now a passenger loading-only zone. Sterling said they added extra staff over the holidays to direct drivers to the lot.
“We have identified a couple areas we need additional signage,” he said.
He expects this new system to help in a few weeks with Christmas crowds.
If you plan to park in the airport parking garage before a trip, airport managers said another way to keep crowds moving is by reserving parking ahead of time.
Drivers can scan a QR code instead of pulling a ticket to get in, or waiting to pay on the way out.
Visit the airport's website for more information about the cellphone lot and parking.