DES MOINES, Iowa — Air travel could be busier than pre-pandemic levels for Thanksgiving this year and Tuesday was a good indication that prediction could be true at Des Moines International Airport.

The line of cars waiting to pick up people arriving at the airport stretched well beyond the entrance to the parking garage thanks to two flights that arrived around the same time from Dallas, Texas and Nashville, Tennessee.

“Yeah we have a crew of five,” Nashville traveler Ryan Meritt said. “We’re originally from Southern California, just recently moved to Nashville so we’re (taking) our first big trip here to Des Moines.”

The Meritts had a smooth flight. Orlando traveler Bob Pence had a different opinion after connecting to Des Moines through the Dallas Fort Worth Airport.

“Coming up out of Orlando it was great. Dallas Fort Worth was a nightmare. They were changing gates willy-nilly,” Pence said. 

One thing passengers can’t avoid is the price per ticket. The consumer price index has airline tickets up twenty-five percent year to year.

“Anytime you fly right it’s kind of crazy so we’re paid a premium but you can’t put a price tag on family though,” Meritt said.

Some people were looking forward to leaving the Iowa weather behind.

The Peyton family has their sight set on sunny Sarasota, Florida to celebrate on the beach.

“We never travel for Thanksgiving but this year we just decided to get away and we’re thankful after the twenty-degree weather last week so we’ll enjoy the 70s for a bit,” Whitney Peyton said.

The Peytons secured a VRBO on the beach to soak up the sun. Peyton said she snagged a sweet deal in advance for the flight, under a thousand dollars for the family of five to fly round trip.