Flying for the holidays: how XNA is aiming to streamline the process


HIGHFILL, Ark. (KFTA) — Thousands of people will be coming through the Northwest Arkansas National Airport during the week of Christmas.

“Hectic, busy, kind of a scramble,” said regular XNA traveler, Liz Jehl when describing holiday season travel.

“We’re definitely hitting record numbers again here at XNA,” said public relations specialist, Alex English. “Comparatively to last year, we’re seeing hundreds or thousands of people more each day.”

English said travelers should expect longer TSA and ticketing lines during the holiday. She suggests coming 90 minutes or more before your flight.

“We have a lot of first-time travelers, a lot of families,” English said. “Which doesn’t help speed up the process necessarily.”

English said the airport is working to improve the year-round traveler experience. Last December, construction began on a $4.5 million TSA line expansion project.

“We knew we needed it because we’re growing here quickly at XNA and the worst thing about coming to an airport is getting stuck in these long lines and being cramped,” English said.

“I actually travel for work more than I travel with my family and so it makes it a lot easier,” Jehl said.

Even with the additional space, travelers will still want to come earlier than normal this holiday season. But English said it will make a difference in the coming months.

“A missed flight is one of the worst tragedies it seems,” English said. “Our number one priority here is customer service and making sure our passengers get on to their flights.”

The next phase of the project is to add a fourth TSA checkpoint in 2020.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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