CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Airport officials expect 75,000 travelers to use the Gerald R. Ford International Airport between next Tuesday and the following Monday, Nov. 28.

“These numbers match our 2019 passenger levels, which, in 2019 it was a record-breaking year for us,” said Ford Airport’s COO Alex Peric.

While West Michigan contends with its first winter storm Thursday, Peric insists that his team is prepared for both a holiday rush and any inclement weather. He said it’s important that passengers check with their airline and their destination of travel to ensure there aren’t delays.

“If there are delays we urge them to check with their airlines, but also we have on staff our Experience Grand Rapids customer service agents, who are willing to help if something happens,” he said.

Passenger Kelly Eisenlohr-Moul arrived at the Ford airport early Thursday to ensure she beat any holiday rush. Since she checked through TSA within five minutes, she and her son stopped by the airport’s kids zone to pass the time.

“I thought it would be a lot busier,” she said. “You have to be flexible when you travel.”

The airport expects to be 11% above its 2021 Thanksgiving travel numbers, which means those who have not flown in a bit should expect longer than normal wait times and less available covered parking spots.

“The covered parking tends to fill up very quickly, which is why we do ask people to get here early if they want that spot close in,” Peric said. “But we have plenty of parking in our economy lots, also our north lot and our east lot will have available parking.”

The Ford airport’s website and its free mobile app also show real-time parking updates as well as any delays or cancellations that may occur.