SIOUX FALLS, SD -
Despite all the usual headaches that come with holiday travel, at least the Sioux Falls Regional Airport was actually open. It's been shut down the past two weekends due to runway improvements. But travelers are thankful to hit the skies this weekend.
"It's nice to be able to get home on time," Henderson, Nevada resident Roxanna Foudray said.
The terminals are packed and the lines are long. It's not an unusual sight around the Sioux Falls Regional Airport, but it's a far cry from the past two weekends.
"We certainly wanted to get around this holiday weekend since we have quite a bit of people flying," Sioux Falls Regional Airport executive director Dan Letellier said.
Runway renovations have grounded flights during some of the most pressing travel days in August. But travelers were well aware of the situation.
"I just planned my trip so I could come in and come out and leave before it closed again," Foudray said.
"It's closer for us and it's easier for us to get up here," Bloomfield, Nebraska resident Wanda Johnson said. "It's not as long to travel to get here. And the flights out are easy to get."
Airport officials say traveler frustrations are inevitable. But being open during one of the busiest times of the year has eased some tension.
"I think people certainly appreciate it is open," Letellier said. "If it were closed, I think we'd be hearing about it. But people have been very supportive, understanding. We've certainly impacted a lot of people that would have normally flown the last couple of weekends."
And travelers know the improvements to the runway will keep both the ground and the skies smooth in the long run.
"I mean, you understand. They have so many planes coming in, they have to do maintenance some time," Foudray said.
Despite this weekend's opening, crews will be back the next two weekends, closing the airport down to finish construction from September 7 through the 10th and September 14 through the 17th.
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