South by Southwest crowds head home
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The curtains have closed on another year of South by Southwest, but many of the thousands of visitors to Austin are still waiting to leave.
Fortunately, lines at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport were not nearly as bad as many feared.
According to ABIA spokesperson Jason Zielinski, it took travelers an average of 36 minutes to get through security at 6 a.m. He said that’s a big difference compared to last year.
"Security wait times last year and the year before that for SXSW departures was actually at or even past an hour," Zielinski said.
The shorter wait was welcome news for Andre Pelletier and the rest of his band, Hotel Morphee. They headed home to Montreal Monday morning.
"We thought it was going to be hell because we were looking at the news while we were eating breakfast,” Pelletier said.
Zielinski credits a recent expansion for the speedy lines.
"In November, we actually opened up a fourth security checkpoint in a vacant ticketing area on the east side of the terminal so that's helped alleviate wait times at the other three checkpoints," he said.
Between 4 and 8 a.m., more than 6,200 passengers passed through ABIA's security checkpoint. Airport officials say that's the most traffic they've seen in that time span since the U.S. Grand Prix in November.