Homeless people sleeping, bathing at Orlando International Airport

By Joel Schipper, Reporter
Last Updated: Friday, December 26, 2014, 9:49 PM EST
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Orlando International Airport is a busy place this holiday week, not just with travelers, but also those who just want to come in from the cooler December nights to get some shut-eye.

Airport employees contacted News 13, saying members of Orlando's homeless community have been using the airport's first level to sleep and even bathe in the public bathrooms — and that's upsetting travelers.

"It is an issue," said Norma McCann who's on vacation from West Virginia. "They're going to starting picking up people's things that walk away for a second. It's just extra people being in a place they don't belong."

News 13 reached out to airport officials for a comment. They would not go on camera, but they did tell us that although people coming in and sleeping in the airport is not a growing problem, they did see an "increase in instances."

In the last week, four people were asked to leave the airport and given a bus pass to do so.

"I think it's OK," said Gina DiVito, who agreed with the airport helping with bus fare. "If they don't have transportation to a shelter, then that's a good thing and policy to get them out of here to a safe place."

Airport officials said those who return to the airport and are asked to leave a second time will get a ticket for trespassing.

There is a team at Orlando International Airport that is trained with police to know and ask the difference between someone who's just sleeping in the airport, and someone who's jetlagged from hours of traveling.

"If you don't have a service here that you need, you don't need to be here," said McCann. "It's just like at the mall — whether you're homeless or you're not."

Airport officials did point out that even though the airport is open 24 hours a day and is a public building, it is still considered private property; therefore, trespassing citations can be written.