Back Travel » [Photos] Delays Abound as Tan Son Nhat Receives 100,000 People a Day

[Photos] Delays Abound as Tan Son Nhat Receives 100,000 People a Day

No matter where you're headed this holiday season, travelers flying out of Saigon should expect to make a day of the journey.

Earlier this week, airport officials warned travelers that Tan Son Nhat International Airport was going to be a little over capacity during the holiday season. As it turns out, airport authorities' estimates were on point. Tan Son Nhat is currently handling as many as 100,000 passengers on a given day, joined by scores of countryside residents flocking to the airport to greet returning overseas Vietnamese, reports Zing. The news outlet referred to the influx as a "forest of people" eating, sleeping and generally camping out in the arrivals area while they wait for their loved ones.

According to one unnamed official, each returning Việt kiều draws a welcoming committee of five to seven people at the airport, exponentially increasing the size of the crowd at Tan Son Nhat. Many of these greeters make the long trip from surrounding Mekong Delta provinces, bringing with them everything from snacks and drinks to makeshift pillows and blankets.

This may seem a little excessive, but it's for good reason: with Tan Son Nhat groaning under its high passenger volume, many well-wishers are waiting hours for their loved ones to exit the airport. On January 29, Tan Son Nhat officials counted 77,000 people arriving on 620 flights. Two days later, the number had jumped to 89,000 travelers on 634 flights. As of yesterday, Tan Son Nhat was expecting a full 100,000 passengers and their relatives on hand, putting strain on the airport's facilities as well as its personnel, who are tasked with maintaining security in a packed arrivals area.

Beyond the throngs of well-wishers, operations inside the airport are also hectic due to the holiday season. On Wednesday, Tan Son Nhat officials were forced to delay 77 flights as traffic jams on the runway put several dozen flights behind schedule, reports Thanh Nien. Another 33 planes were forced to land between 15 and 50 minutes late due to overcrowding on the tarmac, as flight volume has increased 17.8% compared to last year.

As a result, Tan Son Nhat is urging web check-ins and exploring other ways to expedite its air travel services over the next few days, including the installation of additional security equipment. Travelers are also encouraged to arrive at the airport a full three hours prior to departure.

[Photos via Zing]

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