Someone posted in another forum that he was there (twice) when Frontier, Allegiant, and Via all had flights going out and that the terminal was at standing room only capacity. I think they’re really pushing that food court deck outside as part of the capacity, which ain’t gonna work when it’s cold, raining, or in midsummer.
And the proposed 2040 master plan was needed...yesterday. It's just mind-boggling how the city's growth continues. With Apple's recent announcement of a $1B expansion (https://www.statesman.com/news/20181217/why-apple-chose-austin-for-major-hub
) with at least 5,000 new jobs in 30-36 months...and up to 15k new jobs down the road...the sense of urgency just keeps growing.
Don’t jinx me, man. I’m heading to the airport in another couple of hours...
There is stuff they could do to relieve some of the crowding.
1) Completing the west terminal infil to have the two largest checkpoints on the ends would move the security lines away from the check in counters.
2) Moving to CUTE check in for the smaller carriers, and moving the big carriers apart from each other. For example, Air Canada and British Airways operate one flight per day in the afternoon; why do those desks stand empty the rest of the day? (And don’t even get me started on why Volaris—which is finally pulling out of Austin, but had no more than 2x weekly flights for the past two years—and Norwegian (3x/week and not even operating flights this winter) have reserved spaces). Similarly, in SAT, AM check in is handled by Delta—and AM has a *much* bigger presence there than they do in AUS—but they have their own check in facility here. If they moved American away from United, and Delta away from Southwest, then at peak hours they could expand to use the CUTE desks between them without cramming all of those passengers into each other.
I mean, yes, the terminal is clearly getting to be too small, but they’re not even using the facility they have in the wisest way to deal with the passenger growth.
Thank you for coming to my TED talk.
You do realize to build a West infill to match the East would require the removal of existing Checkpoint #3 for the duration of the construction? That's not to say it won't happen, but wouldn't come without its own complications.
Speaking to point #2, the airport does utilize shared use counter positions for several carriers - AC, AM, AS, BA, DY, SY, Y4 (soon LH and NK as well). Just because a given airline's logo visible when not in use doesn't mean those positions are not available for others. There are several considerations when those assignments are made, like; how many consecutive positions are available at various times when they are needed, how long those positions are needed, how the flights are spread out throughout the day/week, which shared use baggage makeup carousels on the ramp are available based on those same considerations, and generally which gates those carriers are departing from.
Similarly, moving carriers with leased space is equally challenging, but not always as visible to the traveling public. For one, airlines don't always want to move. Next time you go to the grocery store, think about how the cereal isle is arranged. Think about what those brands are trying to do and what their market share is relative to the others on the shelf. It doesn't happen by accident there, nor is it an accident at an airport. Also, from a logistics stance you would be amazed at the ATO space behind the counters and how it is all subdivided. Even carries using shared use counters/gates have leased space behind the scenes. Any one move of check in positions would impact multiple others not only on the counters, but in some cases on the ramp as well.
If you get a chance, take a look at the Master Plan documents. Building a new passenger processing facility where the original garage currently stands may be one of the few ways to fix some of the challenges currently faced. It would create a new ticket lobby, new centralized checkpoint, new baggage claim, and new baggage screening matrix.