The Friday before Christmas is known as the busiest travel day of the holiday season, but for travellers departing, arriving, or just passing through Edmonton’s airport – the experience went smoother than many expected.

Thousands of travellers were expected to use the Edmonton International Airport on Friday – inside, they encountered long lineups, but the outlook was mainly positive.

“It’s going ok, [we’re] a little frustrated, but yeah we’re good,” Lisa Murphy, who was travelling Friday with children in tow, said.

Airport officials said they pulled out all the stops to handle the number of passengers expected.

“We do have those additional staff, folks who are here and many of them are volunteers,” EIA spokesperson Traci Bednard said. “Really, they’re just here to help you through.”

Their job was a little easier this year, since the new expansion to airport terminals means there’s nearly twice as much space inside as last year.

“So we can now handle those kinds of numbers that we see at the busiest times of the day,” Bednard said. “If you do come to the airport, you may be seeing some lines, but they’ll go very quickly.”

A number of services were available to travellers, including free gift-wrapping.

The lineups are also expected to continue through the weekend, airport officials suggest travellers come to the airport earlier than they usually would – and check on the status of their flight online.

Another tip: Don’t wrap presents before going through security; otherwise they may be opened early.

With files from Bill Fortier