PDX Expects Big Holiday Crowds

At Portland International Airport, passenger volumes are nearing pre-pandemic levels and the airport continues with its extensive construction activities. The airport is bustling – and spaces are changing – so travelers are encouraged to keep three things top of mind to make travel seamless this holiday season.

1.            Arrive early, especially if traveling between 5 a.m. – 9 a.m.;

2.            Know available resources for travel assistance at PDX; and

3.            Keep stress in check (and have fun!) with unique airport activities.

Arrive Early

It is critical this holiday season that travelers give themselves enough time to navigate the travel process without stress or concern for missing their flights. Best bet? Arrive at least two hours prior to flight departure, especially for flights departing between 5 a.m. – 9 a.m.

Facts & Stats: During the November holiday travel period—the Friday before Thanksgiving to the Monday following the holiday—PDX expects to welcome a total of about a half million travelers.

The peak travel day this year – with more than 49,000 travelers forecasted – is expected to be the Sunday (11/27) following the holiday. Pre-pandemic (2019) the busiest travel days around the Thanksgiving holiday saw 55,000 to 56,000 travelers.

Travelers can make their way to PDX by train (MAX Red Line) or car (peek at parking options), or even ride there by bike or motorcycle – two-wheeled transportation parks free! Ample parking will be available at PDX throughout the holiday season, though some lots may near capacity. Feeling crunched for time? Gold Key Valet is a quick, easy option that offers users car wash and checked bag services (for most airlines) on top of the convenience of simply pulling up and dropping keys and car curbside. 

Look for friendly customer service folks throughout the airport terminal. They will be stationed in high-traffic areas and look forward to answering travelers’ questions with a smile.

Resources at PDX

As the airport continues to change and grow, holidays are a good time to recognize that many people with varied needs are traveling to visit friends and family; airport staff and volunteers are working to make holiday travel as comfortable and stress-free as possible. Additionally, PDX offers travelers the following resources to make the journey easier.

  • Lactation rooms - Each of the airport’s four concourses now has a private lactation room with a comfortable chair, a changing table, outlets for breast-milk pumps, and a sink. Search the online map of PDX for “lactation rooms” to find their locations.
  • Sensory room / sensory kits – Located near gate D10 and open 24-hours-a-day for anyone who wants a quiet soothing space to take a break from travel’s hustle-and-bustle. Additionally, travelers can pick up a free sensory kit from the Travel Oregon Welcome Center in baggage claim or by speaking with a supervisor at either of the security checkpoints.
  • Sunflower Lanyards - PDX offers the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower lanyard to passengers with hidden disabilities such as autism, PTSD, or hearing loss. First pioneered at Gatwick International Airport in London, the Sunflower lanyard communicates those passengers wearing it may need extra help while traveling. It is recognized in a growing number of airports, both in the U.S. and Internationally. Lanyards are available free of charge at all airline ticket counters.
  • Family restrooms / all-user restrooms – Located on every concourse, near gates B6, C5, D5, and E9.
  • Service animal and pet relief areas – Service animals are always allowed at PDX; pets and emotional support animals need to be in a pet carrier, or if too large for a pet carrier, on a leash. Animals traveling with their humans on Concourses D/E can find a pet relief area near gate D5; those traveling on Concourses B/C can find one near gate C5.

The airport’s PDX Next program continues to update and upgrade the facility; the new main terminal will be opening in spring 2024.

Stress Check: Do fun things at PDX!

Once past the security checkpoints, travelers can relax and enjoy the airport vibe by listening to music, viewing art, watching movies, shopping or dining. In each of those activities – PDX is the place to find unexpected moments of fun.

The airport has a robust art and music program, with more than 200 pieces of artwork on display and more than 170 hours of music performed each week. In addition, travelers may notice artistic installations in unexpected places.

On Concourse C, the Hollywood Theatre at PDX shows short films telling stories by Pacific Northwest filmmakers. All films are family-friendly and free to view; the short films play consecutively on approximately a 1-hour loop. Added to the loop for fall is a special preview of the airport’s new mass timber roof – PDX: Coming 2024

Finally, if lots of plane-spotting, art viewing, music listening, movie watching and swag shopping builds thirst and hunger, be sure to check out the new craft non-alcoholic/zero proof cocktail list at the Country Cat (Concourse D), the meal-size-salads at Evergreens (Concourse E), the Smoked Fig Latte at Good Coffee (Concourse B) or a plant-based bowl at Café Yumm! (Concourse C).

For the latest airport news and information, visit www.flypdx.com, or @flyPDX on Twitter, or the airport’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/flypdx. You can also follow the airport on Instagram: @pdxairport.

Source: Portland International Airport

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