SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Holiday travelers are packing their bags and heading to the airport during the busiest travel week of the year, but they may find it harder or more expensive to find parking.

The Sacramento International Airport is ranked fourth in the country in a survey of the least-busiest airports for the Thanksgiving holiday, according to travel website Orbitz.

Local airport officials are still urging passengers to prepare for crowds.

“We do recommend people get here a little earlier, just about two hours, just to be careful,” airport spokeswoman Laurie Slothower said.

The airport hasn’t released an estimate for the number of passengers flying in and out of Sacramento over the Thanksgiving holiday. On an average day, it’s about 24,000.

Those headed to Sac International should be prepared for some parking changes. The airport recently closed part of the economy lot and reopened another more expensive lot closer to the terminal.

“Tomorrow is going to be difficult,” traveler John Hellgeth said Tuesday.

Sacramento International has put up a road block that reads “Do not enter. Lot closed.”

“I lucked out today, but tomorrow I have no idea what they are going to do,” traveler Lisa Kemp said about finding a spot. “It’s crazy how full it is already. I thought I was coming here early with some spaces to go but it’s packed.”

With people packing into planes in advance of Thanksgiving, two sections of the economy lot are closed. That’s 2,000 spots that will remain vacant.

“They were deteriorated beyond repair and they were never meant to be permanent and they are prone to flooding,” the airport’s Karen Doron said.

If the economy lot is full, or you don’t even want to try, head for the daily surface lot. It might be closer to the terminal, but it’s also more expensive even after the airport lowered the fee from $15 to $12 a day.

That’s still $2 more than the economy lot.

Sacramento International says it made the decision to close that section of the parking lot back in mid-October.


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