Nearly 30,000 spring break travelers expected through MKE International Airport this weekend

NOW: Nearly 30,000 spring break travelers expected through MKE International Airport this weekend

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Spring break travel season is upon us. That means thousands of people will be flying out of Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport to a warmer destination.

More than 3,300 passengers had already gone through the airport's checkpoints by 6:15 a.m. Friday, March 11.

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials say we're not back to pre-pandemic numbers, but very, very close.

Milwaukee-area travelers were excited to escape the cold and head south for spring break.

TSA officials expect about 10,000 passengers to go through their checkpoints on Friday, and estimate 28,000 throughout the entire weekend. 

"It's been a lot these past couple of years. It's nice to finally be able to sit on a beach," traveler Jaiden Larrabee said before his flight to Sarasota, Florida. 

Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport said departures are up 44% since last March.

"The last time we traveled was the week before everything shut down," traveler Tom Hage said.

TSA is doing its part to get passengers through the airport more quickly. New technology, in some lines, allows travelers to keep their boarding pass and have agents just scan their photo ID.

K-9 units will also be deployed during busier times.

"It allows people to leave their liquids and their electronics in their bag when they reach the screening point, and it saves a little time," said TSA Great Lakes Region Public Affairs Specialist Jessica Mayle.

Travelers can always go to the TSA website to get a recap of travel rules.

Before you head out, TSA is reminding people to leave early and to pack wisely.

"We don't want to have to make you have to make that decision at the checkpoint: do I want to abandon this? Do I want to return it to my car? Just don't bring it. Either put it in your checked baggage or leave it at home," Mayle said.

TSA has extended its masks requirement on public transit until April 18. It was set to expire Friday, March 18.

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