AAA is reporting that 3.95-million people are expected to be traveling by air this Thanksgiving holiday, which, of course, means the airports are going to be super crowded, and travel is going to be super stressful.
While it’s doubtful you’ll be able to avoid the crowds, there are some things you can do to make sure you’re ready for what’s ahead of you, which may make your travel experience a bit more pleasant.
- Allow extra time, expect busy terminals – The Thanksgiving holiday isn’t the time to see how late you can get to the airport and still make your flight. It's best to get to the airport early, not just to avoid the lines in the terminal, but to also deal with the obvious traffic that’s going to happen as everyone travels to the airport. Experts suggest arriving 45 minutes to an hour earlier than you normally would, and if you’re airport is particularly bad, be safe and make it 90 minutes.
- Pack Smart – When packing think about what you need to do to get yourself through security lines as fast and easily as possible. Pack your carry-ons with TSA security in mind, meaning, make sure your liquids are on top in order to be able to remove them quickly, as well as your laptops, which now MUST be removed and placed in their own bin (unless you have TSA Pre-Check). If you don’t travel a lot, familiarize yourself with TSA rules before you get to the airport. Also, if you’re bringing presents, don’t wrap them, or else you may wind up having to unwrap them at security. And if you’re going to check bags, make sure you have all of your important medicines with you in your carry-on.
- Keep an eye on potential trouble spots – Weather can potentially ruin anyone’s travel plans so keep an eye out for weather forecasts as early as 72 hours before your flight, and not just where you live, but in the areas between your location and your destination, which could delay things. If weather becomes a problem, check your airline's website for updates about possible waivers that will allow you to change your flight in advance.
- Keep your phones and electronic devices handy – Having your electronics with you and fully charged can be incredibly helpful should your flight get canceled for any reason. Instead of waiting in line with everyone else, you can simply call an airline’s reservation system to see if they can help with the changes. And in some cases airlines will let you rebook through their mobile app, which makes things even easier.
- Be patient – Yes it’s easy to get stressed out and on edge thanks to all the extra crowds at the airports but they are to be expected so even when you think you’re about to blow, take a moment to take a deep breath. Also, try to be courteous to others and refrain from taking your frustrations out on airline employees, who are only there to help you.
Source: USA Today