Kelowna’s airport administration says air travel is good for the region but as more people fly, more planning is needed to make sure you allow yourself enough time at the airport.
While business gets done, friends and family visit and tourists explore thanks to more flights in and out of YLW, more people invariably means longer lines at security.
“Our team at YLW is doing a great job welcoming and processing our air travellers as they fly in and out of our region,” said YLW business development and community relations specialist Jenelle Hynes.
“However, with this increase in passengers also comes some strain on our service-provider resources. Like many of the larger airports across Canada and the US, we are seeing longer wait times going through security at specific peak times.”
Travellers familiar with YLW might expect a quick check-in on-line from their home computer, drop their bag off with the airline and then head through security 15 minutes before departure time.
But that can sometimes lead to disappointment and missed flights said Hynes.
Domestic airlines say passengers should check in a minimum of 45 minutes before their flight as boarding times are usually 25 to 30 minutes before the flight time, and another 10 to 20 minutes should be allowed to get through the line up at security during peak travel times of the day when multiple flights leaving at the same time.
An easy way to avoid the pre-boarding travel stress is to arrive 90 minutes before flights within Canada and two hours before flights to the US and Mexico, and then head through security to the departures area as soon as possible, added Hynes.
Arriving early for your flight and discovering little to no security lineup is not time wasted as the airport has many services available including an expanded White Spot restaurant with new patio seating; two well-stocked gift shops and a winery association wine store with plenty of the Okanagan VQA wines available, she said.
And she reminded passengers that the departure time on your ticket means that’s the time when the aircraft’s wheels must be leaving the ground.
“Don’t let your flight depart without you,” said Hynes.
With the first six months of 2014 complete, passenger numbers at YLW have reached a new record , with 780,651 passengers passing through the terminal, compared to 729,175 in 2013. That puts the the first half of the year more than seven per cent ahead of the same period last year.
It also means YLW is one of the fastest growing airports in the country.
“We are really pleased with these numbers,” said Hynes.