AUSTIN (KXAN) — Thousands of passengers are expected to take to the skies this Memorial Day weekend, with projections at the Austin airport near record levels.

Memorial Day weekend is typically the start of the summer travel season, but an airport spokesperson says they’re already ahead of schedule.

Airport officials tell KXAN they are expecting around 32,000 passengers on Friday and 33,000 on Saturday. Projections for the rest of the weekend are not yet available. Next Tuesday is expected to be the “big day” for visitors to Austin leaving to head home.

If passenger totals are that high, we could see several days this holiday season break into the top 10 busiest days ever at the airport.

“The general rule of thumb is that we’re asking passengers to arrive 2.5 hours prior to boarding,” spokesperson Sam Haynes said, “That’s going to accommodate for any unplanned staffing shortages at TSA or at the airline ticket counters.”

It’s not just this weekend that’s expected to be busy. The airport is projecting 22 million passengers will fly out of AUS this year, a new record — by far.

Currently, 2019 is the busiest year on record, with 17.3 million passengers. This year is already outpacing that year’s total. Between January and March this year, more than 4.1 million passengers flew out of AUS, more than 400,000 more than during the same time period in 2019.

Those numbers are expected to be even bigger this summer. According to the airport, airlines at AUS have added more than 32% more available seats for passengers in May-July this year than in 2019.

Several new flights will be added this summer, including new nonstop international routes to Vancouver, Cozumel, Montego Bay and Monterrey.

Travel tips from AUS

  • Use upper or lower levels for passenger drop-off.
  • Use a mobile boarding pass or self-service kiosk.
  • Arrive three hours early for international flights.
  • Check your carry-on for prohibited items.
  • Travelers can save time by checking in for their flight using their airlines’ mobile app
  • Select airlines offer outside curbside check-in.
  • Checkpoints open at 3:30 a.m. with TSA PreCheck and Clear screening available at Checkpoints 1 and 2 West.
  • Travelers checking luggage, traveling with small children or in a large group and those flying out of AUS for the first time in a while should give themselves extra time to make it to their gate on time.