PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) — The amount of foot traffic through Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport has skyrocketed over the past two weeks, signaling that spring break is in full force.
“The first Saturday in March is usually the start of our spring season. Weekend two is good, but this weekend will be even better,” said Parker McClellan, executive director of Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport.
While better may mean high traveler numbers, it also means full flights.
“My flight was definitely full. Like every seat was taken, but it wasn’t bad,” Ohio University student Katie Leciano said.
But full flights mean higher ticket prices.
“I think the ticket prices, from what I remember from previous flights, I don’t think they’re anywhere near what we paid for it. But it’s ok, it happens,” Eric said. Shin, a student at West Virginia College.
But rising ticket prices are a price they’re willing to pay for fun.
“It was like $300 I think and I didn’t want to pay that much for it, but it’s Spring Break so I was like all I would put money in,” Leciano said.
Airport officials tell us there’s a reason for what some consider exorbitant ticket prices. They say the rising cost of jet fuel is impacting ticket prices. In this case, officials say to work with your airline and plan ahead as tickets are expected to become more expensive as the season progresses.
A lesson the students wish they had learned earlier.
“I wish I had bought it a little earlier because my plans were last minute,” Leciano said.
And for future plans, you might see more flights coming into ECP to accommodate the number of travelers.
“We are working on some things that are happening. Don’t forget that we have great summer weekends in the summer where we have multiple flight destinations. Airline activity is increasing, so there are a lot more opportunities,” McClellan said.
Officials hope people will take advantage of the opportunities to experience the best beaches in the world.
Airport officials said they do not yet have the number of people who have passed through the airport since the month is not over. But, they expect to see the upward trend in flyers continue through the rest of the spring and summer.
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