Flying This Weekend? 7 Tips for Happier Holiday Travels
The holidays are such a wonderful and stressful time. I’m excited to see family and friends this weekend, but less excited about dealing with the crowds and flight delays that will inevitably arise today. If you’re flying this weekend and share my pain, here are my travel tips to streamline your airport experience and hopefully keep you in a jolly mood whatever comes.
1. Bring lots of patience and remember to smile!
Yes, this sounds hokey. But it works. Go ahead and prepare for the worst — flights will be oversold and the weather will be terrible. None of which is the fault of any airline employees or fellow passengers you’ll be dealing with. Getting mad won’t change the inevitable, but being nice might get you a better solution. You’d be surprised at the power of even just a half-smile.
2. Skip the jewelry, wear socks
Unless you’re TSA pre-check (and have shoes with no metal supports), you’re going to be shedding your shoes. Those floors are disgusting…you’ll want socks to go through the scanner and wait for your luggage. Also skip the jewelry on flight days! Not only is it a hassle to take it off and put it back on once you’re through security, forgetting your favorite accessory in the x-ray bin is a terrible way to start or end your trip.
3.Make sure you know what you’re allowed to bring.
The TSA mobile site lets you search for specific items to see if they’re allowed through airport security. Fruit cake is allowed, but not jams or jellies. Wrapped gifts are allowed, but a bad idea as they might have to be unwrapped by screeners. You CAN take water bottles, but only if they’re empty.
4. Proactively check your flight status before you get to the airport
Avoid problems before you even get to the airport! Start checking your flight status the night before or morning of to make sure everything is on time. View from the Wing shows you how you can even see where your flight is coming from and anticipate delays or problems in advance. If your flight is cancelled or delayed by many hours, don’t wait to get to the airport — call the airlines immediately to get rebooked. The faster you act, the better your options.
5. Get to the airport early
I’m one to talk as I typically cut it pretty close, but save yourself anxiety and give yourself extra time in case check in and airport security lines are insanely long. An hour of boredom in the airport is worth not missing your flight! Tip: Here are some options for gauging TSA wait times.
6. Don’t bring valuables or large amounts of cash through security
Technically it’s legal, but they only have to suspect you of using it for criminal purposes and they can confiscate it. So if one of your gifts is several thousand dollars in cash, don’t take it through the airport!
7. Save your airline customer service number into your contacts
In the event of a delay, the faster you can call to be rebooked the better your options. And knowing what number to call can save precious minutes. So again, assume the worst for this weekend and look up your airlines contact number before you fly.
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