Austin-Bergstrom International Airport prepares for busy weekends ahead with ACL, Formula 1

Austin has a few busy weekends coming up with both weeks of Austin City Limits (ACL) and Formula One.

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is expecting multiple high passenger days soon, meaning 30,000+ departing passengers.

These are expected high passenger days:

  • Sunday, October 9; Monday, October 10; and Tuesday, October 11 for ACL Week One
  • Sunday, October 16; Monday, October 17; and Tuesday, October 18 for ACL Week Two
  • Thursday, October 20; Friday, October 21; Sunday, October 23; and Monday, October 24; Tuesday, October 25; and Wednesday, October 26 for Formula One

One passenger, Audlandra Magee, is going on vacation now, but coming back on a busy weekend.

"I'm kind of glad I'm able to get in now, because I know this weekend is going to be super crazy, so just being able to kind of speed through right now is making it great," she said. "I'm returning Sunday, so I'm kind of dreading that aspect of it, because I know it's going to be crazy trying to get back home, and I'm going to be a bit tired from my traveling."

The TSA says the busiest times at security checkpoints are 4 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Airport spokesperson Bailey Grimmett says airlines are offering 29 percent more seat capacity than in October 2019, which means more airport traffic.

They say the busiest day in airport history was the Monday after Formula 1 in 2019.

"We do anticipate it might break that record. We don't know just yet, but it's likely," Grimmett said.

The airport brought in more TSA agents through October. Even people who might not normally help passengers will be able to.

"We are training our own staff at the Department of Aviation, more administrative as well as support staff, so people from finance, HR, anyone that we can recruit to come for some of those really busy days," Grimmett said.

There was also a hiring fair last month.

Airport officials say they've been working for several weeks with partners to get ready for this busy time, and hopefully nothing unexpected happens.

"We did see this year some unplanned staffing shortages, which we are kind of sensitive to, and I think it did kind of increase our urgency to ensure that we have enough staff," Grimmett said.

Grimmett says passengers should arrive 2.5 hours before departure for domestic flights and 3 hours before departure for international flights. Passengers that need to check luggage or return a rental car should arrive even earlier.

The TSA says Austin passengers continue to bring a record number of guns to security checkpoints this year. Bringing prohibited items slows down the line. Passengers can visit to see what they can bring.

Highways around the airport are expected to be busy especially during Formula 1 race weekend. Roads around Zilker will also be closed during ACL.

In a statement, TSA says:

"The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) has taken steps to be prepared for what is expected to be a very busy October with potentially record numbers of travelers departing the airport. 

To help travelers plan ahead during this time, the busiest times at the TSA security checkpoints are projected to be early morning and late afternoon. TSA continues to work with its stakeholders to ensure that security checkpoint lanes are staffed and security operations are efficient."