CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Spring break travelers started heading out Thursday, with Gerald R. Ford International Airport near Grand Rapids expecting to see more than 150,000 passengers through April 11.
Gabe Garcia’s family was bound for Florida to take a cruise. They figured flying out Thursday would help them beat the crowd and found manageable lines. Matt Schmuker and his wife, who fly often, were taking their family of five South to enjoy break and said check-in and the TSA check were quick. Abbie Butts, who works at a school, said she usually drives for spring break, but flying was this year’s choice.
AAA estimates more than a quarter of the state will travel over the next week and a half, an increase of 4% from last year. Ford Airport said it was expecting its busiest spring break season ever.
“Flights will be full, so we do ask people to come two hours prior to the airport,” Chief Operating Officer Alex Peric told News 8 earlier this week. “We have plenty of parking available but that premium closed-in parking is always a challenge.”
The airport has 8,000 parking spots on site; about 600 were available as of Thursday afternoon. Many passengers chose to get dropped off Thursday to avoid parking completely.
The weather was cooperating Thursday, but strong to severe storms Friday could affect flights. The airport’s real-time tracker online will let you know where flights stand.