An influx of travelers and a rental car fiasco led to one of the worst traffic jams at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport on Monday as Dell Match Play, NASCAR and Texas Relays came to a close. Some of the 8,252 travelers that passed through the airport before 8 a.m. turned to social media to share their frustrations over the chaos.
Columbus, Ohio, local Joey Dillon shared his story with Austonia after visiting Austin for the first time to play in a tennis tournament. While in town, Dillon said he enjoyed some great food, sights and “beyond perfect” weather.
When the time came to return home, Dillon arrived at the airport two hours early for his 9:10 a.m. flight and got stuck in a line stretching well down the street. Dillon said he waited 15 minutes without moving before he got worried.
My luck that my first time leaving the Austin airport was an apocalypse between Monday morning and both a NASCAR race and a PGA event this weekend.
We had to leave our rentals on the side of the road and security was easily at LEAST 2 hours hours deep. Thank you, pre-check 🙏🏼 pic.twitter.com/7RZuNfCqxE
— Joey Dillon (@joeydillon) March 28, 2022
“I asked the guy in the car next to me what was going on... He said that people were told to leave their cars and to start walking,” Dillon said, explaining that an airport worker came to ask his rental company, wrote it on the windshield and told him to walk back. “I just had to trust that everything would be taken care of because I couldn't afford to miss my flight.”
An airport spokesperson on Monday said that the jam started when a rental car stalled out at the drop-off curb and employees instructed them to leave it with the keys inside. Other passengers then followed suit, leaving a long line of empty cars and no way out. There were at least 1,600 more travelers than usual before 8 a.m. Monday.
Dillon said he got to TSA about an hour before his flight and seeing lines out the door was when he really got worried. Dillon said he had purchased TSA pre-check on a whim before he left for Austin, which he immediately became thankful for, and made it onto his flight on time.
“I know I was extremely lucky. Without pre-check, I wasn't getting home on time,” Dillon said. “It was definitely chaotic and you could feel some anxious energy just because their plans were unknown.”
Though the journey back was rocky, Dillon said it didn’t spoil his trip or memory of the city. He received a statement that his rental car was returned, so in the end, everything was taken care of for him.
Others trying to make their early morning flights weren't so lucky. Frustrated travelers missed their flights and had to wait in more lines to rebook.
Now a new fun rebooking line to wait in cause I obviously missed my flight. Am I in hell? pic.twitter.com/seOL01XA0B
— Nadley Doerge (@nadleydoe) March 28, 2022
As travel bounced back from pandemic lows, airport activity has been bustling: The top five busiest days in airport history are within the last two and a half years, with three of them in 2021. The airport is in the midst of updating some of its infrastructures to keep up with travel demand with its 2040 Master Plan, but changes aren't likely to come this year.
Hey @MayorAdler & @austintexasgov - this is unacceptable - this past Monday people abandoned rental cars it was so bad - we need an interim plan for @AUStinAirport before the terminal expansion https://t.co/PgvvGeSfK7
— Will Townsend (@WillTownTech) March 29, 2022
“The city or the airport should definitely get together and figure out logistics if they're going to have multiple massive events on one weekend. I think this all could've been prevented or at least we could've been made aware,” Dillon said. “It doesn't hurt my Austin experience and it's a funny travel story to tell, as well as a reason to keep my pre-check in the future.”
- Traffic plans as Austin airport expects 20M people this year - austonia ›
- Complete guide to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport - austonia ›
- Austin airport adds new nonstop Spirit Airline flight to Monterrey ... ›
- Austin airport sees busiest travel week since the pandemic - austonia ›
- Rental cars left abandoned lead to hours-long traffic jam at airport ›
- Overnight collisions lead to two deaths, one critically injured - austonia ›
- Satellite tech is coming to SH 130 to boost safety - austonia ›
- 'Vast majority' of passengers at Austin airport go mask-free - austonia ›
Austin police are investigating the killing of Moriah "Mo" Wilson after she was found with gunshot wounds inside an Austin home.
Wilson, a gravel and mountain bike racer, was visiting Austin from Colorado in preparation for the Gravel Locos race on Saturday taking place in Hico, a small town 2 hours from Austin.
On Wednesday, her roommate came home and found Wilson unresponsive with "a lot of blood near her,” police said. It is now being investigated as a suspicious death. No further information on the suspect or motive behind the killing are available at this time.
Wilson recently had become a full-time biker after winning a slew of races in the past year.
Some of your favorite Instagram filters can’t be used in Texas anymore and Austinites are sounding off on social media.
Meta, Facebook and Instagram’s parent company, announced on Wednesday that certain filters would no longer be available in Texas.
The change is a result of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s lawsuit against Meta, alleging the company uses facial recognition technology that violates laws in Texas. A release from Meta says it stopped using facial recognition tech in November 2021 and denies Paxton’s allegations.
Some Austinites bemoaned the shift, saying some of their favorite filters were now unavailable.
This was my FAVORITE filter on @instagram and they done removed it cause I’m in Texas ! Like wowwwwww pic.twitter.com/uX60hdIC0Q
— Pinkyy Montana (@inkstar_pinkyy) May 11, 2022
i heard that instagram filters got banned in texas? what the actual fuck y’all better give me my favorite filter back
— lia 🤍 (@liatootrill) May 11, 2022
loved this stupid filter sm i hate texas pic.twitter.com/DXr9mmUc64
— birthday boy jeno 🎂 (@beabtox) May 12, 2022
But more often than not, locals joked about the ban.
Texas women seeing the filter ban on IG pic.twitter.com/yDMcP3Qtsr
— Christian (Anabolic) Flores (@christian_flo24) May 11, 2022
So, the state of Texas has banned filter use on IG? THE END IS NEAR. 😂
— THE FRANCHISE! Франшиза (@NYCFranchise718) May 12, 2022
And some in-between chose to show off some natural beauty.
I live in Texas, but no filter needed. 😉 pic.twitter.com/A6teRgYMKn
— bad and bruja (@starseedmami) May 11, 2022
filter, no filter..texas women still reign supreme.
— 🎍 (@_sixile) May 11, 2022
Finally, some are trying to cash in on the opportunity.
Texas IG users- if you want to filter your picture cashapp me $1.50 $ErvnYng
— Gemini (@ervn_y) May 11, 2022
Meta said it plans to create an opt-in system for both Texas and Illinois residents, who are facing the same issues.