LINTHICUM, Md. (WJZ) —Thousands of Americans are heading to the airport to jet out of town.
Just last weekend, TSA said there were over 76,000 passengers at the airport and they’re expecting that number to go up.READ MORE: COVID-19 In Maryland: More Than 1.8K New Cases & 15 Deaths Reported Saturday
“I got to the airport, my flight left at 1:50 p.m., I got to the airport at 10:30 a.m.,” said Raequel Prunty.
Experts said July is typically the busiest month for travel and this weekend, they’re bringing in 20 new hires to help assist with the demand.
“Lines were really long. Now, they’re starting to open up more gates. Gate A is open. Gate B, so they’re moving people through,” said Michael O’Malley.
BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport officials said last week they had over 76,000 passengers screened — up 133 percent from this time last year.
“The travel volume is up from last summer as more and more people are getting vaccinated and as more and more people are eager to resume travel,” said Lisa Farbstein, TSA.READ MORE: Maryland Weather: Mild Saturday, With Temps Dropping Sunday
“The lines were long. It was packed, it was packed!” said Prunty.
Last month, officials warned of staff shortages that caused delays nationwide. In Maryland, beginning this weekend, TSA said they’re bringing on new hires to ensure things run smoothly.
But the volume of travelers seems to be outpacing the flights coming in and out. Airport officials said they’ve also added more gates and flight paths to keep up with the high demand.
“We are seeing an increase in the passenger flow compared to last summer that’s for sure. So we’re making sure we have as many lanes open and staffed as possible,” Farbstein added.
“They were great, went right through I didn’t have any problems at all,” O’Malley added. O’Malley said that hope is on the horizon. “It’s nice having them get back to full staff and moving people through.”
Airport officials said to keep up with the high demand, they’ve reopened about 85 percent of their food and retail concessions as well as two long-term parking lots.MORE NEWS: Health Officials Urge Vaccination & Boosters As COVID-19 Rate Rises, Omicron Arrives In Maryland
The mask mandate also remains in effect until Sept. 13.