How to ease your airport departure during Salt Lake City’s busy holiday crush

Don’t forget to wear a mask in the airport as well as on planes, trains and buses.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) A hazy view of the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City on Monday, Dec. 20, 2021.

The volume of travelers moving through Salt Lake City International Airport around the Christmas and New Year’s holidays is expected to reach pre-pandemic levels.

Airport officials forecast Dec. 22, 23 and 24, along with Jan. 2, will be the busiest travel days with about 25,000 passengers expected to depart from the new terminal each day.

By comparison, between 20,000 and 28,000 came through the Salt Lake City airport’s front door per day during the same period in 2019. In 2020, with spread of the coronavirus surging, daily departures declined to between 11,000 and 17,000 each day over the holidays.

Those figures only count the amount of people leaving from Utah’s largest airport.

“There will be additional passengers arriving and making connecting flights” this year, according to airport spokesperson Nancy Volmer.

Airport officials have some recommendations to ensure a smooth trip during the holiday travel spike.

Per U.S. Transportation Security Administration requirements, all travelers must wear face masks inside the airport, while onboard commercial aircraft and in connecting rail and bus systems.

Before heading to the airport, travelers and those picking up passengers should look up flight statuses to ensure departures and arrivals are not delayed. Passengers can reserve on-site parking in advance by visiting the airport website. Airport officials also recommend checking in for flights electronically in advance to speed the departure process.

Passengers should arrive at least two hours in advance for domestic flights as the new airport is much larger and has longer walking distances between gates and the terminal. International travelers should arrive at least three hours early.

Those with idle time at the airport can grab a meal or beverage at the nearly two-dozen restaurants and cafes located in the terminal and concourses. Recent additions include Beecher’s, Coach, Pick Up Stix and White Horse, according to a news release.