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Holiday Travelers Take to the Air

By Megan V. Williams

Wilmington, NC – Wilmington International Airport is dreaming of a crowded Christmas.

Since US Airways announced fare cuts earlier this month, ticket sales out of ILM have increased 11%. The move dropped up the price of walk-up tickets by up to 43%, advance sales are up to 36% cheaper.

Airport Director Jon Rosborough believes US Airways' announcement may have caused some people to change their holiday travel plans.

"People are now changing plans of either driving, or going to another airport, and buying tickets and flying out of ILM," Rosborough said.

But those new fliers are facing new security regulations as well.

The Transportation Security Administration regulations has banned most liquid in carry-on luggage, allowing only a single bottle of three ounces or less, stored inside a clear plastic bag - a regulation the TSA sums up as the '3-1-1 rule.'

Rosborough says that many holiday travelers are older, infrequent fliers, who may not have seen the long end of a security line since the new rule was enacted in the fall.

To speed up security, the airport has posted explanatory signs and deployed extra staff to help passengers unfamiliar with new the security regulation.

Rosborough says they ask "'do you have any questions about the 3-1-1 rule?' They say, 'well, what's that?' Then they come over the table, we assist them, and they thank us, and we get back in line."

Rosborough believes ILM is one of only a handful of airports taking such lengths to help travelers comply with security regulations.

Planes are currently leaving the airport at 95% capacity according to Rosborough. The Christmas travel season continues through next Thursday.