Missoula Airport prepares for holiday travel

MISSOULA, Mont. - With Thanksgiving fast approaching, AAA is predicting 53.4 million Americans will travel for the holiday. Four million are expected to fly, and of those, thousands are expected to fly in and out of the Treasure State. 

Brian Ellestad, the executive director at Missoula Airport, said it's prepared and keeping an eye on certain areas in the country for possible delays, causing a domino effect. 

According to Ellestad, the Missoula Airport is expected to be up near pre-pandemic numbers this holiday weekend. 

Flights in and out of Missoula are so busy, they're overbooked so far this month. 

Ellestad estimated there'll be about a thousand travelers flying in and out of the airport each day with Sunday being the busiest travel day across the country.

"For us, the summers are more than that, so for us, this isn't too bad," Ellestad said. "Our flights are a little more spread out this year, so I think this will be a pretty easy travel time for our customers. But again, don't delay, just get here early and be prepared."

While the federal vaccine mandate went into effect this week and includes Transportation Security Administration (TSA), operations are expected to continue as normal. 

As for trouble areas across the country, Ellestad said it's still early, but they're keeping an eye on the East coast for possible delays due to weather and staffing shortages.

He advised travelers to either download the airline's app or sign up for texting notifications to ensure they can get rebooked as soon as possible if delays or cancelations pop up. 

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