With an increase of passengers at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, airport staff told rental car customers to just leave their vehicles parked in the return lanes. - Photo: Austin-Bergstrom International Airport

With an increase of passengers at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, airport staff told rental car customers to just leave their vehicles parked in the return lanes.

Photo: Austin-Bergstrom International Airport

With Austin’s rapid growth, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport has been feeling the strain with long lines at TSA and long waits at the rental car companies, according to a report by KUT 90.5 (Austin’s NPR station). Airport officials have said that airlines are adding flights to and from Austin faster than any other U.S. midsized airport.

On Monday morning, March 28, the line to get through security stretched down the terminal, outside the building, and back down the entire length of the terminal, according to the report. The wait for TSA screening was more than 90 minutes for airport passengers.

For travelers trying to return their rental cars, lanes leading to the car rental facility were blocked by abandoned rental vehicles, according to the report. When one rental car stalled on the drop-off curb, airport staff told customers to just leave the keys in the vehicles so they could make their flights. Then more and more car rental customers started leaving their vehicles parked in the return lanes with the keys in them.

“People were honking their horns,” Jeff Gluck, a sports reporter told KUT 90.5. “Nobody could move their cars, so I just left my car with everyone else and was just like, ‘I just hope they check it in eventually.’”

Last year, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport started a $4 billion airport expansion, but it will take several years to be completed.

A March 15 release from the airport said that passenger traffic was up 165.01% compared to the prior year, with 1,097,442 passengers flying during January 2022.

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