As spring break travel begins, airports prepare for long lines, sold-out flights

The annual spring reprieve from school has families and students planning travel. Those in the industry say last month's fiasco aboard the Carnival Triumph hasn't deterred cruisers, but a recent poll indicates otherwise.
by Jennifer Palmer Published: March 9, 2013
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Oklahoma families are preparing to pack their bags and hit the road, take to the skies or cruise the ocean during the annual warm weather reprieve from the grind: spring break.

Will Rogers World Airport is reporting sold-out flights and expecting long lines at ticket counters and security checkpoints beginning this weekend as vacationers embark on their trips. The Oklahoma City School District is out for two weeks beginning Monday, and many other metro-area school districts take a weeklong break starting March 18.

Karen Carney, a spokeswoman for Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City, said unlike regular business travelers, those on spring break tend to check more bags and carry more items through the checkpoint. She recommends arriving at the airport at least 90 minutes before departure to allow plenty of time.

Also, air travelers should be aware that a recently announced change allowing small knives in carry-on luggage doesn't begin until April 25, so existing restrictions will be in place during spring break.

Cancun, Mexico, tops the list for Oklahomans traveling by plane, and popular road trips include North Carolina, South Carolina, Orlando, Fla., San Antonio and Branson, Mo., said Chuck Mai, an AAA Oklahoma spokesman. Unlike other major holidays, the agency doesn't collect data on spring break travel because it's spread over several weeks.

“Our auto travel counselors and travel agents say they've been really busy. Lots of people are looking to skip town,” he said.

The fiasco aboard the Carnival Triumph last month hasn't deterred interest in cruising, he said. And cruise lines haven't dropped prices much, either. Dortha Vela, All About Travel president, said the only difference she's noticed is cruise customers now are requesting balcony rooms and avoiding cabins.

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by Jennifer Palmer
Investigative Reporter
Jennifer Palmer joined The Oklahoman staff in 2008 and, after five years on the business desk, is now digging deeper through investigative work. She's been recognized with awards in public service reporting and personal column writing. Prior to...
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At a glance

State offers staycation opportunities

Too late to book a getaway? Why not have a staycation and visit one of these Oklahoma attractions:

Oklahoma City Zoo.

The Toy and Action Figure Museum, Pauls Valley.

Orr Family Farm, Oklahoma City.

Leonardo's Discovery Warehouse & Adventure Quest, Enid.

Alabaster Caverns State Park.

Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, Norman.

Jasmine Moran Children's Museum, Seminole.

Little Sahara State Park near Waynoka.

Oklahoma Aquarium, Jenks.

Pole Position Raceway, Oklahoma City.

State parks.

Tulsa Zoo and Living Museum.

SOURCE: Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department

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