Thanksgiving weekend is busy for local airports

By WEEK Producer

November 27, 2013 Updated Nov 27, 2013 at 8:37 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- For a few holiday travelers just finding a parking spot at the airport was an adventure Wednesday morning.

"They have tons of parking for rental cars and there's just no parking," said Debbie Kratz. "I've been driving around for 20 to 25 minutes."

But she didn't have to. There's a new parking lot that recently opened at General Wayne A. Downing International Airport.

"As soon as you see General Downing's statue you make the first right turn past the statue and follow the signs to additional parking and there's a lot. There's probably 350 to 400 spots there that are pretty close," explained Gene Olson, Peoria's Director of Airports.

Parking wasn't a problem for Josh Terronez. But making his flight from Phoenix was.

"I missed my first flight so I had to re-book. It only took a delay of about an hour," said Terronez. "I was supposed to land in Moline but now I'm here in Peoria."

Josh's delay was self-inflicted. He over-slept.

Beth Lawrence arrived on time to pick up her daughter but the place didn't.

"Her flight was supposed to arrive at 10:45 but it won't be in until 11:19," Lawrence said.

Of course, some turbulence is to expected on the busiest travel weekend of the year.

The best way to avoid unnecessary headaches is to plan ahead. That starts with getting to the terminal early.

"Sixty minutes if you really know what you're doing and if you haven't flown in a long time you want to get here more like 90 minutes (early), said Olson. "Then if you have a problem you have some time to fix it."

And Olson suggests air travelers sign up for their carrier's automatic text or e-mail notification system to receive any alerts about their flight.

He estimates almost 1,500 passengers would fly out of Peoria on Wednesday.