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Airport Tips to Get to Spring Break on Time

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  With as cold as it has been lately, a warm getaway sounds like the perfect use of a Spring Break vacation. However, many people have that same idea, making this one of the busiest times of year for the Des Moines International Airport.

Des Moines International Airport Executive Director Kevin Foley said, “We have more travelers going out more, more travelers with luggage that they’re checking and so lines, whether it be in front of the ticket counter or waiting to get through screening are a little bit longer than normal this time of year.”

Foley said the long lines started Thursday but Friday, Saturday and Sunday are the busiest days of the week for travel. He recommends getting to the airport at least an hour and a half before your departure time.

The airport said there are way more people leaving Des Moines than coming so the parking lots will be full, but there are many options for parking your car. There's covered parking right next to the airport or economy parking down the street. Here is a map of the different parking lots. The Orange is hourly parking, capped at $32 a day, the pink is long-term covered parking at $24 a day and the green lots are economy parking starting at $10 then going to $7 and $5 the farther away you park. There are free shuttles that will take you to and from those far lots.

“Know that if you have to park in one of those farther out lots, that’s going to add ten or 15 minutes to your time because you park, you wait for the shuttle, and then you come up here and hit that line in front of the ticket counter,” Foley said.

The airport said both the ticket counter and security screening lines could take up to an hour this time of year. More people are traveling in big groups, and families may have big items like car seats that take more time going through screening. College students are not as accustomed to traveling and may pack over the 50-pound bag limit. More people traveling means more unforeseen instances that add time. The Des Moines Airport says every flight is full, if you miss your flight you may not catch another one for several hours or even the next day.

“The airlines will close the door to the aircraft approximately ten minutes before departure time and unless it’s an emergency the door doesn’t come back open,” Foley said.

Another travel tip is to download their airline’s app on your cell phone. You make a free account and can access your plane ticket on the phone and skip those ticket counter lines.