Fly the friendly skies without worry this holiday season. All it takes is a little preparation and the savvy to follow some basic travel tips.
The hustle and bustle of the holiday season can be a significantly tense time for air travelers. Crowded airports, traffic jams and security checks can all lead to an unexpected snafu. The good news is that there is a way to avoid unpleasant travel complications that may arise.
In order to prevent travel related snarls, be prepared ahead of time. By following some simple guidelines for holiday air travel, travelers can greatly reduce the chance of having a chaotic travel experience for themselves, eliminate difficult predicaments for airline employees, and lessen the amount of waiting time for fellow travelers standing in line. Here are some of the best tips to follow for holiday traveling.
Early Booking & Arrival
To assure a flight reservation, book tickets early. When it comes to traveling during the holidays, it’s best to purchase tickets as soon as possible. This is not the time to wait for a deal and risk not getting a flight.
Arrive at the airport early, at least two hours before the flight. If possible, arrange to be dropped off at the airport. This will completely avoid the parking issue.
Before leaving for the airport, call and check the flight status. If the flight is delayed, find out what the estimated new departure time will be, and plan to arrive two hours before that time. This will ensure that travelers don’t end up spending endless hours waiting in the airport lobby for their flight.
Catch an early flight, the earlier the better, travel snags that happen throughout the day can cause further delays. It’s best to book the first flight of the day if possible. Don’t book the last flight of the day, if it ends up being cancelled it will mean staying overnight.
What to Bring to the Airport
Be sure to bring photo identification, a drivers license and passport should be kept on hand in a safe place. Have these items readily available in order to check in quickly for the flight.
Another piece of documentation that should be brought along is the E-ticket receipt for the flight, and of course paper tickets if applicable. Most travelers purchase E-tickets, and although it is not necessary to have the receipt to check-in, it is good to have as proof of the reservation in case of a computer glitch. If carrying paper tickets, be sure to have them accessible.
Holiday Carry On Restrictions
If carrying on gifts, it is advisable to bring them unwrapped. Wrapped holiday presents may be unwrapped at security check points in order to properly inspect them.
Snow globes and other liquid-filled decorations are not permitted as carry on items. These can only be carried in checked luggage, so don’t bring them to the departure gate or they will end up being left behind.
Ski poles, hockey sticks and other winter sports-related items are not allowed as carry on items. Plan for these items to be checked. Additional fees will apply for oversized items such as snowboards or skis, so check with the airline ahead of time to be aware of what the extra cost will be.
New – Holiday Fees for Air Travel
Some major airlines have recently added a surcharge of $10, in each direction, for flying during busy holiday dates. These dates include the Sunday after Thanksgiving, and the weekend after New Year’s Day.
To avoid paying the additional holiday fee, fly on the Saturday after Thanksgiving or the Monday after New Year’s Day. Being flexible is key when it comes to cheaper flights, especially during the holiday season.
What to Know about Baggage
Check in online, before arriving at the airport, through the airline’s website to save money on bag check. Extra fees will be incurred for checking luggage, so travel as light as possible. Lugging heavy suitcases around the airport will only make things more difficult.
Carry on luggage should be no larger than 45-inches in height, width and depth according to most airlines. Only carry essential items such as prescription medications, eyeglasses, passport and documentation. Items with more than 3 ounces of liquid or gel are prohibited.
By following these guidelines, holiday travelers can avoid unnecessary stress at the airport. Be prepared ahead of time in order to have the best possible travel experience.