GREENVILLE, Wis. (WFRV) – Travel numbers for this holiday season are up more than airports nationwide have seen in years. Appleton International Airport is now expecting record-breaking numbers the week of Thanksgiving, with the number of travelers reaching almost 13,000.

“We are up about 12% in the number of seats departing from the Appleton airport,” said Jesse Funk, Appleton International Airport’s Air Service and Business Development Manager. “As we see more travelers throughout the country travel at this time of year, we see it here at the Appleton airport, and we’ll be up about 18% to 18.5% in actual passengers leaving in those eight days, so yeah, definitely busy here at the airport.”

Appleton Airport officials expect this to be their busiest travel season, reaching an anticipated 948,000 arrivals by the end of the year. Jesse Funk says they could see even more numbers next year.

“We are busier now than any time in the recent past,” explained Funk. “Not to say it isn’t stressful when it gets busy. It’s just like any other business that has a busy period, kind of pushes us to the max, but we feel we’re ready here.”

Jesse Funk told Local 5’s Samantha Petters that he feels the airport is prepared for this increase, and with new direct flights like the one to Newark Liberty International Airport starting May 17th, Funk says the airport hopes to continue growing to embrace the larger number of travelers. He said the airport’s partnership and the support from the community is what allows them to continue to grow.

“We’ve worked with our airline partners to reassign gates and have multiple airlines use the same gates, so that’s a big change for us in the last year,” said Funk.

Ahead of Thanksgiving and the holiday season, Funk says travelers can expect to see heavy traffic, so he advises them to leave early to give themselves time before their flight and plan ahead. Other tips from experts at the Appleton International Airport are listed below:

  • “If possible, fly in off-peak periods,” said Jesse Funk, business development manager for the Appleton airport. “The least crowded day to travel is actually Thanksgiving Day itself.”
  • When looking at Christmas, December 22nd and 23rd will be the heaviest travel days throughout the country.
  • Funk also recommends limiting your luggage to carry-on items and traveling as light as possible.
  • Downloading the airline’s mobile apps ensures you have updated information on flight status and flexibility if you need to re-book.
  • If you haven’t already done so, TSA PreCheck takes the hassle out of going through airport security. PreCheck passengers have shorter security waits and use dedicated security lines.

“The number one thing we recommend is to download the airline’s app. Whichever airline you’re flying, they all have an app,” said Funk. “It’s the most efficient way for airlines to communicate with travelers and vice versa.”