HIGHFILL, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — According to AAA, more than 40 million Americans are expected to fly this Memorial Day weekend, making it one of the busiest times to fly since 2005.

Northwest Arkansas National Airport’s Olivia Moore said the last two months have been the busiest in airport history, and this Memorial Day weekend might be the peak of the increase in travelers.

“XNA is not just recovering from COVID, but we are exceeding pre-pandemic
levels of enplanements,” said Moore.

Moore said even drop-off and pick-up lane traffic will be more backed up this weekend, since there is construction going on in the front of the building. She said the airport renovations are all part of keeping up with NWA’s growth.

“So as the population is increasing in Arkansas, as more people want to fly and get those seats on those airplanes, we want to help grow with them,” said Moore.

She said airport staff is ready to help the lines moves quickly, but said some delays when flying, especially when you’ve already got on the plane, are coming from the airlines themselves.

The Federal Aviation Administration said weather causes around 60% of all delayed flights. Despite the increase in travelers, the FAA also reports flight cancelations are on a downward trend.

If you are traveling this Memorial Day weekend or later this summer, here are some of Moore’s tips for a smooth travel day:

  • Arrive at XNA approximately two hours before scheduled departure to allow enough time to navigate the front of the terminal, get through ticketing and security, and grab something to eat/drink on the way to their gate.
  • Speed up your wait time by pre-booking reserved parking spots in the parking deck, long term, or economy parking.
  • Stay informed about security checkpoint wait times at flyxna.com on XNA’s security page.
  • Enroll in TSA pre-check by visiting the new TSA pre-check application center in the airport lobby downstairs.