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Dominican Republic Tourists Told To Arrive At Airport 3 Hours Early Amid Record Traffic

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Travelers in the Dominican Republic have been told to show up at the airport three hours early as the country experiences record-shattering travel numbers. The recommendation, issued by local authorities this week, is meant to ensure that all passengers catch their flights on time, avoiding unnecessary delays and travel chaos. Airports across the tropical island have struggled with long queues, missed departures, and understaffed check-in lines this year as travel to the Dominican Republic picks up.

Santo Domingo airport, passenger checking into their flights

According to Aeropuerto Dominicanos Siglo XXI (Aerodom), a public company that manages and oversees airports in the Dominican Republic, passengers should show up at the airport well before their flight. The call comes as the Dominican Republic is seeing a record number of travelers across its airports, causing delays and long queues. Although authorities have activated special protocols in preparation for the winter travel period, officials are taking additional measures to prevent travel chaos in December, by far the busiest month for travelers. 

Busy lines at airport security

In a statement published this week, Aerodom reminds passengers traveling to and from the Dominican Republic to show up at the airport at least three hours prior to their flight. Authorities are preparing for a record-breaking travel season this winter, as millions of North Americans head down south in search of more sun, tropical warmth, and Caribbean beaches.

According to Luis José López, Aerodom’s head of corporate communications, the infrastructure authority established new guidelines earlier this year in preparation for the busy winter season. “Anyone who has the intention of traveling will probably see high passenger flows,” and advised passengers to plan their departure carefully.

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Punta Cana airport sign welcoming passengers

Meanwhile, travelers are urged to check airline-specific recommendations, as policies vary significantly between carriers. Nevertheless, passengers are generally advised to arrive at least two hours prior to their departure, with things like traffic, check-in queues, and security checks potentially adding to delays. JetBlue, American Airlines, Sprint, and Frontier are some of the largest U.S.-based airlines operating to and from the Dominican Republic. 

JetBlue aircraft parked on tarmac

The Dominican Republic is home to several busy airports, including the capital’s Las Américas International Airport (AILA), as well as Punta Cana International Airport, the country’s largest and busiest. Earlier this month, authorities activated new winter protocols across the island’s largest airports ahead of the busy winter season. Authorities have introduced several measures, including adding more staff to busy check-in counters and security checkpoints, as well as improving signage.

Security guard working at airport

Recently-published statistics show that the amount of travelers in the Dominican Republic has already exceeded 2019 levels by a considerable margin. And in December, over a million people are expected to travel to the tropical island, especially around Christmas and New Year, further boosting this year’s travel figures, which are expected to reach well above 7 million by the end of the year.  

Popular tropical beach with blue water

Airport authorities are working closely with several stakeholders from the national government to security agencies to ensure smooth sailing for the millions of travelers that walk through the country’s airports. While Las Américas airport has struggled with massive delays over the summer, the privately-run Punta Cana International Airport was recently ranked among the best medium-sized airports in the Americas. 

Passengers waiting to board flight with mask on

Authorities have also stepped up safety and security measures ahead of the winter travel season. This year, airport security personnel have made several high-profile drug arrests at Punta Cana International Airport, where staff members have also been caught helping drug traffickers. As a result, officials have deployed more k-9 units as well as enhanced anti-drug measures, conducting regular spot checks and inspections on departing and arriving passengers. 

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