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Holiday travel tips: what to do at the airport

During the busy holiday travel season, the best advice of the experts at Travel Leaders can be summed up in two words: Be prepared. And, being well prepared for holiday travel usually means being early.For example, the recommended time of arrival to check in for a flight is usually 90 minutes in advance for domestic flights and two hours for international flights. During the holidays, plan on arriving at the airport at least two hours before a domestic flight and three hours before an international flight. With larger-than-usual crowds at many airports, give yourself plenty of time to complete check in, clear security, find your gate and have a snack before you get on board.Under the Transportation Security Administration’s Secure Flight Program, it’s now required that the name on the photo identification you’ll use at the airport – such as your driver’s license or passport – exactly matches the name on your flight reservation. If your reservation needs adjustment, our travel professionals can help.As you approach an airport security checkpoint, be prepared to

  • Remove your coat or jacket and your shoes and place them in security trays for screening.
  • Secure any liquids or gels in your carry-on bag in a single, quart-size, clear zip-top plastic bag and place it in a security tray. If you forget to prepare this bag at home, most airports have bags you can use at the security checkpoints. Remember, containers of liquids and gels can be no more than three ounces each, or they will be confiscated.
  • Empty your pockets of any change, keys, cell phones, combs, eyeglasses, etc., and put these items in a small security tray for screening.
  • Remove any computers or other large electronics (video game consoles, remote-control toys, etc.) from your carry-on bag. Place each in a separate security tray for screening.
  • Collect your belongings from the security trays after you are cleared through the metal detector or other screening device.
Finally, don’t exceed the maximum allowable size for your carry-on bag. Now that many airlines charge fees for each piece of checked baggage, more travelers are trying to get by with only a carry-on bag, making the overhead bins on most planes more crowded than ever before. It’s best if your carry-on bag will fit under the seat in front of you. Check with our travel professionals for the carry-on standards and restrictions for your flights.

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