CLEVELAND - Thousands of people visited Cleveland this week for the Republican National Convention, and most of them are leaving Friday.
Some will drive and possibly take the bus or train, but the TSA expects about 18,000 passengers to fly out of Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport.
On a normal day the airport sees approximately 12,000 people, so that’s a 30 percent increase just for one day.
The TSA’s Federal Security Director for Ohio says it could be the most passengers for the airport in recent years. They’ve prepared for months to help things go as quickly as possible while keeping everyone safe.
Don Barker said you can expect to see 60 extra screeners, triple the number of K-9 teams and armed federal guards in uniform.
“I’m hoping you expect an easy time through the airport. Because again, we brought in a lot more staffing than we normally have and a lot more labor allocated for this particular event,” said Barker, TSA Federal Security Director for Ohio.
He says most people associated with the RNC will leave the city Friday, including 3,000 armed officers. Barker says most of these people are experienced travelers and know what to do, but he has some reminders.
If you’re legally carrying – make sure your firearm is properly packaged. The TSA recommends arriving to the airport no later than two hours before your flight.
Checkpoints will open 30 minutes earlier than normal at 3:30 am. and every checkpoint will be open all day.
Barker says with all of the extra resources you may actually move through security faster than usual, but you could still experience delays.
“Realize parking is probably going to be a little more limited. So you might need a little more time to get to the terminal. Realize there’s going to be a lot of volume, not just at our location, but the ticket counters are going to have more volume, too,” he said.
The keys to a safe departure seem to be arriving early and staying patient.
Here's an interesting reminder for delegates. The TSA suggests taking any programs or credentials out of your bag. They sometimes have high-gloss coating or metal stickers that can alert machines and slow down your security screening.