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Flying out of Las Vegas after Super Bowl? Expect heavy traffic

Updated February 12, 2024 - 7:32 pm

The weather was perfect, but the storm had arrived — a storm of travelers leaving Harry Reid International Airport after Super Bowl 58.

The Transportation Security Administration reported 78,430 people were processed at the airport between midnight and 4 p.m. Monday, the day after Sunday’s thrilling game, won 25-22 in overtime by the Kansas City Chiefs over the San Francisco 49ers at Allegiant Stadium.

The TSA is anticipating high traffic levels again Tuesday with an estimated 85,000 screenings expected that day. As post-Super Bowl departures decline Tuesday, the TSA will close one of the five security checkpoints — the lower level at Terminal 3 — earlier, at 10 p.m.

The all-time record for Reid was 103,499 screenings on Oct. 29, 2023. That weekend concluded several Halloween-themed events. TSA spokeswoman Lorie Dankers said she’s on the fence on whether that record will be broken.

The TSA, a part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, had projected between 110,000 and 118,000 passengers would pass through the airport’s five checkpoints on Monday. The estimate was trimmed to 108,000 to 110,000 based on data the agency collects on ticket sales from the airlines serving Las Vegas.

To handle the crowds, the TSA deployed more than 60 explosive-sniffing canines and extra TSA agents from 20 other airports. It also promised to have every line of every checkpoint open from early Monday morning to late Tuesday night.

Dankers said Monday morning the longest wait for passengers was about 12 minutes.

Airport traffic was notably high Monday morning, prompting officials to caution travelers to be prepared to hurry up and wait.

“It’s the morning after #SuperBowl and the traffic is bumper to bumper on airport roadways and up to the departures curb,” the airport said on its X account. “If you’re flying out of LAS today make sure to allow plenty of time to get here.”

Last week, airport officials promoted a 4-3-2-1 departure strategy. That meant planning the trip to the airport four hours before flight time, arriving three hours before to check baggage, getting to the TSA line two hours before the flight and getting to the gate one hour before.

The airport also opened two remote baggage check-in locations, one at the zero level of Terminal 1 and another at the Reid Airport Rent-a-Car Center. Both locations, operated by Bags Inc. under a Clark County contract, were operating Monday morning and were busy.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on X. Review-Journal digital content producer Tony Garcia contributed to this story.

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