Avoiding Hassles in the Air
Preparing for your next airplane flight
Planning some air travel this holiday season? Better bring a book to read. And get to the airport – e-a-r-l-y!
Although the airline industry isn’t back up to its pre-9/11 passenger load levels, the number of people traveling on the nation’s airlines is increasing, just in time for the holiday season. More people, more flights equal more airport bottlenecks. That’s the theory, anyway. Due to congressionally-mandated budget cuts for the Transportation Security Administration there will be fewer security screeners to staff airport checkpoints. The result may well mean longer lines and more headaches for passengers traveling over the holidays.
Although the TSA is hiring part-time screeners, transferring screeners from less busy terminals and opening extra security lanes, you could still find yourself stuck in full waiting mode! A book or magazine and a healthy dose of patience will help. You can reduce your chance of running into delays by following a few simple tips.
Get there early! You’ve heard the experts say to arrive 90 minutes to two hours before your scheduled departure time. They’re not kidding. Do yourself a favor and show up early to allow yourself time for parking, check-in and screening.
Pack smart. If you’re carrying gifts on your trip don’t wrap them until after you reach your destination. Security officials may need to open wrapped presents if they trigger and alarm, and that will delay you even more. (For more on smart packing see: http://www.tiare.com/a_packing.htm)
Dress for success. Avoid wearing shoes, clothing, jewelry and accessories that contain metal. These often set off security devices. Put metal objects such as jewelry, change, keys, cell phones, pagers and PDAs in your carry-on bag.
Protect your equipment. Place all undeveloped film and cameras with film in your carry-on luggage. Put identification tags on all your bags, especially electronic items such as your laptop computer, PDA or cell phone.
Remember the 1 + 1 rule: Carry-on baggage is limited to one carry-on plus one personal item. A personal item can be a purse, small backpack, brief case, and camera case or laptop computer.
A little pre-planning and a bit of patience should see you through your trip. Welcome to the holidays, enjoy your visit, and don’t forget to bring a book!
Laura Quarantiello is the author of several books, including “Air-ways: The Insider’s Guide to Air Travel” – stuff the pros know and you don’t! It’s as necessary to your trip as a boarding pass! More info: www.tiare.com This article © 2003 Tiare Publications Group