Bugle Miami

Officials at MIA, frequent flyers give travel advice ahead of July 4th weekend

MIAMI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, FLA. – Fourth of July weekend is right around the corner. Like years past, airports across the country are expected to feel the holiday hustle, and Miami International Airport is no exception.

7News cameras captured a steady stream of travelers walking across concourses and standing in line at MIA, Friday afternoon.

Travelers gave some advice to those who haven’t flown lately about what to do when heading to the airport next weekend.

“Come early and don’t blame the airlines. Blame yourself if you’re late,” said Alex Antelo.

“Follow the travel advisories of coming a couple of hours before, anticipate delays and have an open mind,” said Junelle Phillips.

Officials on Friday hosted a news conference at MIA to drive that message home.

Among those cautioning travels to pack their patience was Jenel Chang, federal security director for the Transportation Security Administration.

“We are expecting high passenger volumes going into this holiday weekend,” said Chang.

On top of it being a big travel weekend, airport traffic in general is up 15%, with MIA seeing about 145,000 travelers per day. That’s 20,000 more than in 2021.

There are also 100 more flights now available. That suggests more people, and this time of year, more delays and cancellations.

“We are seeing flights being impacted by summer weather, thunderstorms. Airlines have had a staffing shortage in the last few months, which has been well-documented,” said Greg Chin, communications director for the Miami-Dade Aviation Department.

That’s why officials recommend checking in online, before arriving at the airport. As for how early, they recommend three hours for domestic flights and three and a half hours for international flights.

In addition, officials advise that security checkpoint wait times can be as long as 20 to 30 minutes.

“We try to keep those at a minimum, but if you can get to the airport earlier, that will absolutely help you with your travels as you go through the airport,” said Chang.

When it comes to packing, officials advise travelers to keep carry-on contents simple. Cluttered bags could trigger a time-consuming search, and prohibited items could lead to trouble with the law.

An MIA spokesperson said it’s never OK to bring fireworks on a plane.

“Because they are flammable, and depending on the kind of fireworks, they could also be explosive,” she said.

Holiday travel can be a hassle, but frequent flyers who spoke with 7News said, if one is prepared physically and mentally, the experience will be much easier.

“I’m one of those just rolling with the punches right now,” said Phillips.

“You’re going to be traveling. You’re not going to get bitter and upset before you leave,” said Antelo. “It is what it is.”

Officials advise taking a taxi or using a rideshare service to get to the airport is far preferable than driving there, because searching for a parking spot could take a long time, and it’s likely travelers will be unable to find one.