MKE airport prepares for record-breaking spring break travel and reminds people to plan ahead

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- As Covid precautions relax across the country, it appears people are ready to travel again.

Milwaukee's Mitchell International Airport (MKE) expects record-breaking travel this March as people enjoy their spring breaks. 

Officials with MKE say the next six weeks are expected to be the busiest in spring break history, with 300,000 people flying out of the airport this month. Anticipated peak travel days for MKE are two consecutive Saturdays, March 12 and March 19. On those days, 28 flights will go to Florida destinations alone. 

And it appears people are headed somewhere warmer. 

"Thirty-nine flights departing to warm places on peak days, which is a record," said Harold Mester, the director of public affairs and marketing at Mitchell International Airport.

Departures are up 44 percent from last March. 

With a lot of people traveling, they're reminding people to get to the airport two hours before a scheduled flight to leave time for things like parking and TSA. 

"There will be some slow points, there will be wait times, there will be lines," said Mark Lendvay, the TSA Wisconsin security director. "I think you're going to see that everywhere, from the rental car facilities to the Starbucks." 

The country is coming off of a busy winter holiday travel season, too, where staffing shortages and Covid outbreaks led to delays and canceled flights at major airports. 

While Lendvay says TSA is ready for the demand, there are still staffing shortages being dealt with nationwide. 

"I'm not at my full staff right now," said Lendvay. "We're very comfortably staffed right now but we, like everyone else, are dealing with attritions retirement." 

All airport officials say to check your flight before leaving, and when packing, make sure to check the TSA's list of prohibited items.

A federal mandate requires everyone to wear a mask at all airports and on planes until the end of the day March 17.

It's unclear whether or not it will be extended afterwards.

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