High hopes for air travel in 2021?

People check their bags at the American Airlines desk at the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport.

BELGRADE, Mont. – The holiday travel madness is being felt by airport staff at Bozeman Yellowstone International as parking lots fill up and long lines are anticipated for the holiday weekend.

On Wednesday, Dec. 22, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screened more travelers than pre-pandemic levels, exactly 2,081,297 million people screened compared to 1,937,235 million in 2019, and the parking lots at Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport quickly filled up.

Airport Director Brian Sprenger said he had to put on his high visibility vest to go outside the airport and help with traffic control on Thursday, Dec. 23, and said people should arrive early if they want a convenient parking spot from the mad rush.

“Oh we’re absolutely into our overflow parking areas, we’re expecting you know probably about 40% more cars and kind-of following up on a very strong year, we’re running about 40% ahead of 2019 numbers right now for this time of year," Sprenger said.

Not only did the airport break their travel record year from 2019, but they did so back in September.

The TSA anticipates seeing 20 million people across the country flying between Dec. 23 to Jan. 3.

Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport still offers one hour of free parking and is suggesting that you arrive at least two hours early for your flight, have a driver who can drop you off curbside and prepare to wait in traffic at peak travel times.

Sprenger said they will do their best to keep mask stations at the front entrances filled, but said you should plan on brining your own as masks are required by federal law in the terminals and on-board aircraft.

You can find more information on the airport as well as updated flight arrivals/departures at BZN here.

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