Airport Holiday Travel Tips
The holiday season can be a wonderful time of year,
but not always as wonderful as they could be if you are traveling by
air. According to statistics, the five most heavily traveled times
of the year are:
1. Christmas and New Year holiday
2. Thanksgiving weekend
4. Washington's Birthday
5. Labor Day weekend.
It is easy to become "Scrooge-like" when you are stuck in a
crowded airport during the winter holidays, complete with crowds and
miserable weather conditions.
While it is nearly impossible
to avoid the mad travel rush altogether, there are some things you
can do to make your holiday travels less stressful. Being organized
and adaptable are the keys to keeping your sanity during this hectic
Here are some timeless air travel
· Leave early.
Leave for the airport
early enough to allow extra time for potential airport traffic,
parking delays, and longer luggage check-in and security screening
lines. Arrive at the airport at least one hour before your
flight is scheduled to leave - two hours for international
· Prepare for Bad weather.
If you know
there will be inclement weather at your departure or destination
city, it's a good idea to call your airline's reservations center
and/or check their website on the status of your flight(s).
· Carry proper ID.
Passengers must travel with
valid photo identification and keep their ID with them at all times.
This includes driver's licenses, passports, or official state ID's.
College students PLEASE NOTE: College ID's are not acceptable in
many cases. If you do not hold a driver's license, try to get a
· Tag your baggage.
Make sure that all
checked and carry-on bags are properly tagged, inside and outside,
and with the ticketed passenger's name, address and telephone
number. Free identification tags are available at airport ticket
· Keep an eye out.
Watch your bags at all
times during security screening. The criminal element will be out in
full force ready to take advantage of the unwitting traveler. As
always, do not leave luggage unattended or with strangers, and do
not carry any item from a stranger, or any luggage or packages that
someone else packed.
If you are traveling
bearing gifts, be advised of some potential problems. Those lovely
wrapped gifts may have to be unwrapped to go through security. Many
people end up angry that this is done, however, if after x-ray
screening security personnel feel they need to physically inspect
the object, they will unwrap it. This can be the case for many
electronic devices, as well as tools and other questionable objects.
It is best to bring gifts unwrapped and wrap them at the
destination. Better yet, mail them so you won't have to carry
· Greet passengers outside the gate area.
you plan to go to the airport to pick up or drop off family and
friends, you could be turned back at the security checkpoint.
Airports and airlines have the option of creating what is called a
"sterile concourse" - closing off gate areas to non-ticketed airport
visitors. Some airports may let you into the gate area during slower
periods, but not at peak traffic times. To avoid confusion, try to
greet arriving passengers outside the gate area.
Always carry medicine, cash, jewelry,
passports, visas, business papers and other valuables such as
cameras on-board with you.
· Take care of
Prepare yourself for flight by getting a good
night's sleep and eating a light meal before your trip. Drink plenty
of water or fruit juices before and during flight to prevent
· Electronic Devices.
attention to in-flight announcements about restrictions regarding
the use of portable electronic devices such as personal computers
and CD players.
· Watch what you joke
Passengers should be aware that any jokes regarding
security issues, such as bombs, are no laughing matter and will be
taken seriously. In the past, arrests have been made in response to
these types of comments.
· Hazardous Materials.
not pack hazardous materials, such as matches, lighters or flammable
liquids in your luggage.
Some special tips.
Pick your loved ones up at departure level, and drop them off at
Just the opposite of what most people do.
This works especially well for early morning and late evening
flights, when the departure level is jammed. Moreover, you are less
likely to become stuck in traffic. Most large airports have peak
times for arrivals and departures, also known as banks of flights.
This is when the airport is extremely busy and crowded. Banks of
flights are necessary at the major hub airports to make schedules
flow for connecting passengers. Airports tend to be busiest at the
following times: 8-10 am, 12-2 p.m., 4-6 p.m., and 8-10 p.m.
· Prepare to enjoy the flight.
When travel plans
go awry, you need a sense of humor, along with the ability to
entertain yourself. Always bring along a book, game, or other form
of amusement (within reason) to keep occupied. Also, don't forget a
few snacks, especially if you are traveling with kids. There is
nothing worse than being hungry, waiting in a long line, only to pay
$7 for a mystery meat sandwich along with a $3 drink! (Bah
· Print out your e-tickets.
If you have an
e-ticket, make sure you have a printout of your itinerary. I have
never had a problem with e-tickets, however, many frequent travelers
recommend that you have a paper ticket if you are traveling during
the holidays. If your flight is delayed and/or canceled, you have
more options with a printed ticket. It can be immediately endorsed
over to another airline. If you do not have a printout of your
e-ticket, you'll have to stand in a long line just to get a printed
· Don't forget your manners!
the season to be jolly, so don't forget your manners! Try to be kind
to airline employees and others working the holidays: many have to
be away from their families while you get to be with yours. Try to
be a little more understanding when things don't go smoothly. Also,
if you see someone who needs a hand, join in the holiday spirit of
kindness with a gesture of assistance.
I hope these tips
will help alleviate and avert any holiday travel headaches you may
Happy traveling and happy holidays!
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