Holiday Travel Tips: Thanksgiving 2009

Dulles International Airport security checkpoi...
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Every holiday, there comes the obligatory holiday advisory. Of course, US Airlines are predicting a 4% drop in Thanksgiving travel compared to last year, but since airlines have cut capacity significantly, travel on the busiest travel holiday of the year will likely be hectic.

Airlines also added travel surcharges of $10 for holiday travel, recently increased to $20.

  1. Arrive early. On a normal day, you should arrive at least an hour and a half before the flight leaves, longer for an international flight. You might want to leave a little extra time, especially if the roads are congested. Better to sit around the airport than to miss your flight.
  2. Be familiar with luggage allowances. If you can, and if applicable, prepay your luggage charges online. Not only is it usually cheaper, it is one less thing to do at the airport. If possible, try to avoid checking luggage. Holiday travelers tend to bring a lot, which will increase the percentage of lost luggage. Pack efficiently.
  3. Be familiar with the TSA rules for what you can bring through security. Most infrequent travelers are unfamiliar with the confusing rules the TSA has added. Be prepared and get through screening quickly. Pack your carry-on neatly, as it will make it easier to check in the x-ray machine. Remember the TSA’s Liquid Restrictions. Review their Prohibited Items List.
  4. Check-in online. Avoid long lines by doing anything you can do in advance in advance.
  5. Check the status of your flight before you leave the house. It is easier to do this in advance than on a line at the airport.

Most importantly, keep a positive attitude. We’re all in this together. It can be frustrating, but we’ll get through it.