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Airport Officials Ask Travelers For Patience During Busiest Time Of Year

TSA Federal Security Director Scott Lorenzo speaks with members of the media ahead of the airline industry's busiest week.
Scott Good
TSA Federal Security Director Scott Lorenzo speaks with media outlets as the airline industry enters its busiest week.

John Glenn International Airport expects over 150,000 people to depart from Columbus over a 10-day period around Thanksgiving. Tuesday and Wednesday will likely be the busiest days of the year.

Airport officials are asking travelers for patience, and at least some passengers say they feel safer flying this year than last year.

Acting Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Federal Security Director Scott Lorenzo asked that when passengers pack their bags, they “pack a little patience.”

“99.9% of the public, they show that respect, and they’re always very thankful,” said Lorenzo. “But we have those few bad actors. Maybe it’s the stress of the holidays, and we understand that. But just give yourself a little extra time, a little patience, and a little kindness.”

Columbus resident Leidy Alvarado just flew back to Columbus from basic training with the military and said she feels more comfortable flying now than she did earlier in the pandemic.

"I also flew last year. It was a lot more scary 'cause you didn't know where people were coming from, and anytime you heard a cough you'd get all scared,” said Alvarado. “But now, like I said, I think we're all used to this pandemic, so we know how to be safe for ourselves and others."

Still, with the number of COVID-19 cases on the rise, Columbus Regional Airport Authority spokesperson Sarah McQuaide said the airport is taking numerous precautions.

“Just like we’ve been saying throughout this pandemic, we just encourage people to protect themselves, protect others, make sure you’re wearing the mask,” said McQuaide. “Thankfully, it’s required throughout the airport, our shuttle busses, and on the aircraft. So, we’re hoping that that helps.”

Lorenzo also reminded travelers to leave bottled water at home and limit other liquids, such as hygiene products, to 3.4 ounces or less. He said TSA officers needing to ask passengers to remove liquids over that weight from their bags causes slowdowns in security lines.

Additionally, Lorenzo said passengers who carry weapons on themselves in their daily lives should double-check that they don’t have any weapons in their carry-on luggage. The TSA has confiscated a record of over 4,500 firearms this year.

Travelers can find a complete list of what items are allowed on the TSA website.