SFO expects 1.6 million holiday travelers

About 1.6 million air travelers are expected to venture through San Francisco International Airport between now and Jan. 1, an airport spokesman announced today, as airport officials ready themselves for a busier holiday season than last year.

“It's going to be a very good travel season this year in San Francisco,” said a smiling Mike McCarron this morning at the airport's International Terminal, amidst trails of travelers.

McCarron estimated approximately 96,000 people would be arriving or departing SFO today, with the busiest holiday travel days expected Friday and Sunday: about 110,000 travelers each day, he said.

The 1.6 million estimated holiday travelers would top last year's numbers by about 5 percent, according to McCarron.

Travel overall through SFO in 2007 also increased about 5 percent, with new carriers Virgin America and Jet Blue, the return of Southwest Airlines, and other airlines adding flights to meet demand, McCarron said.

To accommodate the throngs of weary passengers in the next two weeks, SFO is offering a variety of holiday perks, from carolers' serenades, to shopping discounts and free gift-wrapping, to express spa service for beleaguered parents needing a quick massage, and coloring books and crayons to keep children occupied.

The airport will also have on display a holiday exhibit, “San Francisco Ballet at Seventy-Five,” featuring costumes and photographs from some of the ballet company's most famous productions.

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