Detroit Metro Airport expects larger crowds this holiday season; offers tips to travelers

A Delta jet departs Detroit Metro Airport. Photo by Scott Bolthouse – The Huron Hub.

Posted by The Huron Hub | Nov. 23, 2021

Detroit Metro Airport expects over 3.5 million travelers this holiday season, more than double the number of passengers from last year and approximately 15 percent lower than 2019. During the Thanksgiving travel period (Nov. 19 – 28), nearly 400,000 additional passengers are expected this year compared to 2020. During the Christmas and New Year’s travel period (Dec. 18 – Jan. 2), more than 600,000 additional passengers are expected compared to the same time a year ago.

“We’re cautiously optimistic about the travel forecast this holiday season,” said Wayne County Airport Authority CEO Chad Newton. “Only time will tell if this increase in passenger traffic is a sign our economy and our industry are rebounding. Regardless, our Detroit Metropolitan Airport team will continue working hard to deliver an excellent customer experience, while prioritizing the health and safety of everyone in our terminals.”

Earlier this year, DTW received the Airports Council International (ACI) 2020 Airport Service Quality Award for Best Airport by Size and Region (25 to 40 million passengers per year in North America). This customer service award is one of the highest honors in the aviation industry. Also, DTW recently earned the ACI Airport Health Accreditation, which demonstrates the staff is taking steps aligned with industry best practices to reduce health risks. Since the start of the pandemic, DTW has increased cleaning in high touchpoint areas and stationed customer service agents and volunteers throughout the airport to remind everyone to wear a face covering. Dispensers with free face coverings are available for those who forget their masks at home.

In addition to the mask reminder, DTW has a few more holiday travel tips to share.
Apply for the DTW Destination Pass to spend more time with your loved ones.
Non-ticketed visitors can enter the post-security side of the McNamara and North terminals by participating in the DTW Destination Pass program. Anyone wishing to greet family and friends at their gate or wait with them until their flight departs can apply for a pass the day before the planned visit to DTW at

-Arrive early! Everything is easier when you’re not rushing. During the holidays, the airport welcomes a higher percentage of infrequent travelers who may need extra time. It is important to arrive early to avoid the stress of rushing to your flight. As a general rule of thumb, the airport recommends arriving two hours before a domestic flight and three hours before an international flight. Allowing extra time will enable you to park, check baggage, proceed through Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screening and reach your departure gate.

-Active loading & unloading at the terminal curb fronts will be strictly enforced.
Never leave your vehicle on the arrivals or departures curb unattended. Unattended vehicles will be ticketed and towed.

-The curb fronts at both terminals are reserved for active loading and unloading only and can become extremely congested during peak times. Airport Police will be doing their best to move motorists along to prevent traffic backups. Take advantage of the airport’s short term parking at both terminals – $4 for 30 minutes or less, and $6 for up to an hour.

-Pre-arrange a meeting location with the traveler you are picking up. In addition to short term parking lots, two complimentary cell phone lots are available at the north and south ends of the airport. Please visit the following link for a map:

-Don’t wrap gifts before traveling. Packages that are wrapped may need to be opened by TSA, causing disappointment and delays at the screening checkpoints.

-Check your bags for prohibited items BEFORE arriving at the airport. Attempting to proceed through TSA screening with prohibited items in your bag will delay the screening process for you and other passengers. To find out what is considered a prohibited item, visit, and remember prohibited items are more than just weapons. All liquids and gels over 3.4 ounces are prohibited in carry-on baggage.

-Arrange for assistance in advance. The Airport Authority and its partners are committed to providing a welcoming and convenient travel experience for all passengers. Travelers who may require additional assistance should advise their airline or TSA ahead of time. More information can be found at or by calling TSA Cares: 855-787-2227.

-Expedited screening programs are available. The Airport Authority encourages travelers concerned about the possibility of longer TSA or Customs screening lines to sign up for a trusted traveler program offered by TSA or U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The company, CLEAR, also has a program that saves travelers time. See the links below for more information:

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