Friday, November 19, 2010

How to survive the airports this holiday season

This holiday season is going to be busy at airports across the nation according to most travel experts.  Numbers out there put the number at 42.2 million people will travel at least 50 miles from home this Thanksgiving alone.  Last year the numbers were around 37.9 million giving this year an 11% boost in travelers. 

And with Napolitano and the rest of the TSA gang in the mist of airport screening drama your wait time at your favorite airport just might get longer.  The Sunday after Thanksgiving, November 28th, is the busiest day of travel and least traveled day is Thanksgiving itself, Thursday the 25th.

Tips to travel wiser...

1. Hit the web before you head for the airport

Check in online up to 24 hours before your flight is scheduled to leave, and print your boarding pass at home.

New since the holidays last year:  More carriers now allow you to check in from your smartphone and use a digital bar code on the screen to pass through the airport.

2. Pack light

Avoid checked-bag fees altogether by bringing carry-on luggage only.  Just check with whichever airline you plan on using, there are max sizes allowed on board.

The advantages are is that you can head straight for the security line when you arrive at the airport and skip the baggage carousel after your flight lands at your destination!

New since the holidays last year: Spirit Airlines now charges a fee for carry-ons that passengers place in the overhead bins.  Bastards!

"Most" other airlines allow one piece of luggage and one personal item to be carried on for free by every ticketed passenger. 
Cut check out the ultimate airline fee guide on to get a clear picture of any extra charges you might pay.

3. Give yourself plenty of time

We recommend getting to the airport at least two hours before your scheduled departure for a domestic flight and three hours before an international trip.  You're gonna need it.

And with the holidays, this rule of thumb is even MORE important.  With all the travelers at the airport you'll be sure to see extra lines and lots of dumb confused people that always seem to show up making your stay at the airport just a little more annoying.  :-)

New since the holidays last year:
  Extra screening means that lines may be moving more slowly than ever.  Plus with all the TSA drama in the news, be prepared to be seen nude, digitally or get a nice rub down curiosity of a underpaid "security" guard.

 4. Prepare for the security line

And as you wait in line for your rub-down, don't sweat, it's not THAT bad.  Here are a few ways to not slow down the process:

• Have your boarding pass and ID easily available.

• Remove your shoes.  (wear slip-ons and clean socks for God's sake)

• Make sure all of your liquids are in a zip-top plastic bag that's kept separate from your carry-on bag.  Max size seems to be 3 oz.

• Send coats and jackets through the X-ray machine.

• Take any items that might set off the metal detector -- like keys, loose change and heavy jewelry -- out of your pockets.

• Don't wrap any gifts. If security officers need to inspect a package, they may have to unwrap it.  If traveling with food, check the TSA's list of items that should be checked or shipped ahead.

5. Plan for flight delays

And no matter what, you might be delayed.  Wear comfortable clothing, take along some type of device to keep you entertained, bring along a good book.  ANYTHING to keep you going for a few extra hours of boredom.   And most of all, RELAX, it's the holidays.

BONUS VIDEO - Don't mess with Pam!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...