2491 Winchester Rd., Memphis, TN 38116
+1 901 922 8000

MEM Christmas holiday traffic expected to exceed prepandemic levels

Passengers should arrive at airport 2 hours before departure

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (December 15, 2022) – Memphis International Airport (MEM) is projecting approximately 129,000 people to pass through the TSA checkpoint during the Christmas holiday season, which will take place between December 16 and January 2. This total represents an increase of 17.2% compared to the Christmas travel period in 2021. More importantly, 2022 projections represent a 2.7% increase compared to the same travel period in 2019 before the pandemic.

With passenger volumes expected to be high and airlines booked to capacity, MEM is recommending that passengers arrive at the airport at least two hours before their scheduled departure time. This is especially important for travelers with early morning flights between 4-7 a.m.

The peak travel days are expected to be Thursday, December 22, and Friday, December 23. Other peak days include December 26, 29, and 30 and January 2.

Passenger Travel Tips

  • MEM recommends that travelers arrive at the airport at least TWO HOURS before their schedule departure time.
  • Prior to coming to the airport, passengers can also save time by checking in online via their airline’s website.
  • Passengers should check directly with their airlines to monitor schedules.
  • Airlines rather than the airport are responsible for all aspects of ticketing, scheduling, gate operations and baggage handling. Check with your airline if you have questions about these subjects.
  • MEM parking lots may periodically reach capacity during peak travel days. When this occurs, additional signage will be added, and additional parking staff will help direct drivers to available parking spots and overflow lots.
  • MEM is also prepared to activate an overflow parking area should the economy, short-term and long-term garages reach capacity.
  • For convenience, drivers parking in the overflow lot may want to drop off luggage and other passengers at the terminal before parking.
  • Should the overflow parking lot open, MEM will operate a shuttle between the overflow parking lot and the terminal.
  • Travelers passing through MEM on Thursday can enjoy the sounds of local acapella group Adajyo at the music stage in the rotunda area between 10 am and 1 pm.

Arrive Two Hours Before Your Flight


  • The installation of TSA’s new Computed Tomography (CT) equipment at MEM was completed in October. With the improved security capabilities of CT equipment at the MEM checkpoints, passengers can now leave their laptop computers, electronic devices and 3-1-1 compliant liquids in their carry-on bags for screening.
  • However, there are size limitations for these CT units and all items must fit into the grey divesting bins. Nothing can be placed directly on the moving belts. All oversized bags must be checked at the airline ticket counters because they will not be accepted for screening at any TSA checkpoint. Bin size dimensions are as follows:
    • Depth:  5.5 inches
    • Width:  19.5 inches
    • Length: 24.5 inches
    • CT Tunnel Height: 16.5 inches
TSA Bin and Carry-On Size Guide

TSA Bin and Carry-On Size Guide

  • Also, as our TSA officers and the passengers learn the new procedures associated with the CT equipment, please allow yourself some additional time to get through the screening process.
  • Travelers are encouraged to examine carry-on luggage to ensure no prohibited items are contained within, and review the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA’s) list of prohibited items.
  • Firearms in carry-on bags are prohibited by federal law. Firearms can be transported in checked baggage if they are properly declared to the airline and packed in accordance with TSA guidelines.

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