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Glacier Park Airport urges travelers to arrive early

By Alli Friedman, KCFW Reporter, afriedman@kcfw.com
Published On: Aug 06 2014 07:44:30 AM MDT
Updated On: Jul 02 2014 11:00:31 PM MDT
KALISPELL, Mont. -

Travelers who come in and out of Glacier Park International Airport see how small the airport is and assume 30 minutes is enough time to get bags checked, get through security and board the plane.

Glacier Park Airport staff say it doesn't work like that. They want to remind passengers that, even with smaller airports, you're still expected to arrive at least 90 minutes early or risk missing your flight.

The last-call announcement is not something you want to hear when you are trying to make a flight. Many travelers in and out of Glacier Park International Airport believe that because the airport is so small, arriving only just a half hour early is enough time, but it turns out, it's not.

"In a small airport, people are under the impression that it takes a few minutes to get from point A to point B and that's not necessarily true,” said Glacier Park Airport Director Cindi Martin.

Especially during the summer months and with a busy 4th of July travel weekend, there's a good chance travelers will encounter congestion and long security lines.

Also, during peak travel hours early in the morning or around lunch time, the airport says up to 1,000 people may be trying to get through security.

NBC Montana spoke with a few travelers who got to the Glacier Airport early enough to enjoy some snacks.  When they heard some people choose to arrive only 30 minutes prior to boarding, often missing their flight, they weren't surprised.

"If you haven't gotten your act together to get to the airport early enough, then that's too bad," said Mary Zagger, a Glacier Park Airport traveler. 

Other travelers are used to bigger airports. They say even though it is possible to arrive a little later at Glacier Park International Airport, passengers would rather be safe than sorry.

"I always get there two hours early. Here, I probably wouldn't need to, but just to be certain that I'm on time," said Glacier Park Airport traveler Thomas Berglund.

Airports across the country are having to deal with the same problem. That's why airport staff hopes summer travelers arrive early.

NBC Montana heard from some airlines that unfortunately if people do get stuck in line, it is not the responsibility of the airlines to get them to their destination and there may not be other seats to rebook them. That is why it's important to arrive early.