Military mass exodus adds to holiday hustle and bustle at San Antonio International airport

4,000 U. S. military members fly out this week

SAN ANTONIO – Time and patience are two things travelers will need as they head to the San Antonio International Airport this week.

About 4,000 members of the U. S. military are flying home for the holidays, along with everyone else.

That means longer lines at the airport and longer wait times in those lines.

Thursday morning was pegged as the busiest time of the four-day Christmas holiday travel period.

“Busier than I thought,” said Lannette Winn, as she stood in line for her flight to San Francisco.

Her luggage, emblazoned with rainbow-colored letters, bore the message that she was “on her way,” only that did not happen as quickly as she hoped.

Although the airport lines were long Thursday morning, travelers say they moved quickly. (KSAT 12 News)

Tonya Hope, a spokeswoman for the airport, says the best advice for anyone flying this week is to arrive at least two hours before the scheduled boarding time.

Members of the military who were traveling seemed to heed that advice.

“I’m nervous. I’ve never really flown by myself before,” said PV2 Thomas Oswald. “It’s, like, weird trying to figure everything out, but I’m glad I got here early.”

Oswald was one of hundreds of soldiers who arrived by the busload before daylight.

PV2 Trinity Garner was in position to board her plane to Pennsylvania seven hours before it left.

She passed the time playing video games with her fellow soldiers, while anxiously waiting to go home.

“The last couple of weeks, we’ve all been talking about. This is the time, the most exciting for us,” she said.

Garner’s plans at home include watching Christmas movies with her family.

For PFC Jakayla Ervins, it’s all about the decorations.

“We like to go look at Christmas lights,” she said.

This will be Ervins’ first visit home to Georgia since she joined the military.

“I’m excited because this is the first time I’ve been away from them for so long,” she said.

Although getting through the crowds at the airport may have been a challenge for some, the reward—at least Thursday morning—was that all the flights appeared to be on time.

About the Authors

Katrina Webber joined KSAT 12 in December 2009. She reports for Good Morning San Antonio. Katrina was born and raised in Queens, NY, but after living in Gulf Coast states for the past decade, she feels right at home in Texas. It's not unusual to find her singing karaoke or leading a song with her church choir when she's not on-air.

Azian Bermea is a photojournalist at KSAT.

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