SXSW ends, 19,000+ passengers leave Austin airport

Bags are carted through ABIA.
Bags are carted through ABIA.

AUSTIN (KXAN) — South by Southwest fans are heading out of the Austin airport Sunday and Monday, and airport officials recommend leaving early.

The Transportation Security Administration logged 19,340 passengers catching outgoing flights Sunday, according to an airport spokesperson.

That compares to the all-time, single-day departure record of 22,759 people who boarded planes the day after the Formula 1 U.S. Grand Prix last year. That broke the previous record of 21,725 passengers from Nov. 19, 2012. The 2012 record-setting date was also the day after the race.

Airport guidelines say travelers should get to Austin–Bergstrom International Airport at least 90 minutes before their flights.

“It isn’t crazy yet, probably that’s because South by Southwest morning really happens at noon,” said Desiree Wattis on Sunday afternoon, who was in town to play for SXSW.

The lines picked up in the afternoon.

It’s not only the end of SXSW, it’s also the end of spring break for some students and teachers.

“[Conditions at the airport were] pretty much what I expected — few long lines and some queues. And it’s good to get here nice and early,” said Esti Zilber, who is heading home to Australia. “I’m going to do my very, very best to catch up on sleep.”

Lines start to form at ABIA as SXSW 2014 comes to an end. (Kevin Schwaller)
Lines start to form at ABIA as SXSW 2014 comes to an end. (Kevin Schwaller)







March is one of the busiest months for ABIA. Last March, the airport set a record with more than 876,806 passengers moving through the gates.

That was a 6 percent increase from 2012 when about 829,642 passengers used the airport. However, the record has since been broken again.

June of 2008 held the old record.

Airport officials recommending packing SXSW swag in a carry-on bag, after problems in screening checked luggage last week.

ABIA: How to prepare before leaving SXSW

Travel tips

  • Arrive in the terminal at least 90 minutes before departure times for all flights
  • Check flight status before arriving at the airport, or with your airline
  • Allow ample time to get to the airport. Traffic and weather could add to commute time
  • Be aware of construction activity in and around the terminal, parking, and airport roadways. For construction updates, visit “Tuning Up!” at
  • Real-time ABIA On-Airport Parking information is available by calling 512-530-3300
  • A free cell phone parking lot is available on Spirit of Texas Drive for those picking up arriving passengers
  • For airport information 24 hours a day, call 512-530-ABIA (2242) or visit


Be prepared for security screening, dress smart and pack smart:

  • TSA’s Pre-Check is available at checkpoints 1, 2, and 3. To enroll, visit
  • Carry-on luggage is restricted to one bag and one personal item such as a laptop, purse, or backpack
  • Shoes, coats, jackets, hats and other such garments must be put through X-ray screening
  • Remember 3-1-1 for liquids, gels and aerosols in carry-on luggage. Three ounces per container, in a clear, one-quart bag, one per passenger and place this in a bin for x-ray.
  • While packing, check luggage to ensure no prohibited items are in the bag or its pockets. For a comprehensive list of banned and permitted items in carry-on baggage, visit the TSA’s Web site at provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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