Tips for Travelers Going Through Airports during Thanksgiving Weekend


Many people like to enjoy Thanksgiving weekend with family and friends. According to American Automobile Association (AAA), Thanksgiving 2017 broke records with having over 50.9 million travelers in the United States traveling over 50 miles or more from home! 36.1 million of which were air travelers who got stuck in the long airport lines and slow moving screening processes.
Similarly, traveling this Thanksgiving weekend may just be a hassle. To guide you through the long airport lines and waiting time, here are a few quick tips that may be helpful to getting you out of the airport and on your flight in the least amount of time possible.


Sign Up for Airport Programs

Airport programs like TSA PreCheck and CLEAR are two of the most helpful programs in propelling passengers through security lines. However, these programs may require you to sign up well in advance as the process for getting approved can take anywhere from two to six months.
TSA PreCheck affords low-risk travelers, departing from the U.S. airports or traveling domestically, expedited security screenings when flying with one of the 12 participating airlines. CLEAR is another program made for travelers in the U.S. and offers quick security and screening lines upon membership. 
Global Entry is a program for expedited clearance upon arrival in the U.S. and mainly for international travelers. The affordances of the program are expedited re-entry into the U.S., no processing lines, no paperwork, reduced wait times, TSA PreCheck eligibility, and expedited entry benefits to other countries.
Nexus is a program specifically for frequent travelers of U.S. and Canada and allows members expedited security lines upon arrival. The program is administered by the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol and they allow travelers to use their Nexus card as an alternative to passports. 

Security Screening Tips

If you decide to opt-out of membership in an airport program, you can still beat security lines by being prepared for them ahead of time.
You can start by wearing as little metal as possible such as jewelry, belts, coins, and keys. You might want to store them in your carry-on or in a plastic bag before reaching the security checkpoint. Security may also ask you to take your laptop and camera out of their bags for checking and screening purposes unless you have TSA PreCheck. 
Speaking of plastic bags, they can also be used to store liquids and gels; whether they are carry-ons are not. Remember that all liquid and gel items must be 100 milliliters (3.4 ounces) or smaller containers. Keep the 3-1-1 Rule in mind – 3 ounce or smaller containers of liquid and gel, 1-quart-size clear plastic zip-top bag, and 1 bag per traveler placed in the security bin. You may also want to store powders in a checked bag as they may need extra screening which leads to a longer wait time to get through the line. Keep prescription medications in a plastic bag in your carry-on so security can inspect them by hand unless you mail them in ahead of time.

Lastly, remember that coats and shoes may also be asked to be taken off. To make the process quicker, make sure to wear socks and easily removable shoes. You can prepare ahead of time by holding your coat in your hands before getting to the security checkpoint. Travelers ages 75 and older may keep shoes and a light jacket on. You can have a head covering on during the screening process, however if it is too concealing, you may have to go through pat-down screening. 

Avoiding Long Lines

To avoid long lines during Thanksgiving weekend, avoid traveling at peak travel times such as Monday mornings and Friday afternoons. Business travelers pack the airports at the beginning and end of each week while school breaks pack airports on Thursdays and Fridays with students and families. This leaves late Monday or Tuesday as the perfect time to travel for the weekend rather than departing on Wednesday or Thanksgiving morning to beat the rush. 

You can also avoid long waiting times by avoiding lines filled with families and elder persons and go for the lines with business people that are prone to be more efficient when it comes to traveling. Luckily, wait times have started to reduce after the TSA declared children under 12 and elders over 75 do not have to remove shoes in the security checkpoint. 

Furthermore, TSA agents must randomly select some people for additional screening so make sure you are prepared for such an occurrence. This might delay your process by a few minutes, but if you follow the right dressing and packing tips, you will be able to save time on the whole process.

Download Apps for Airline Travels

Waiting in line can also be cut short if you can download the airline’s app and check in before you get to the airport. Along with checking in, make sure to read the policies the airport may hold in case your flight gets delayed and how long it may be before the next flight.

You can also monitor security wait times with your smartphone using the Trip It app. This may help you decide when and how soon you need to leave to make your flight on time. This app also allows you to monitor wait time and the real-time flight status as well as be able to share your travels with friends and family so they know when to pick you up.

Thanks to these tips, you’ll go through the airport in minimal time, allowing you to enjoy your Thanksgiving break as soon as you pass those sometimes-frustrating security lines. However, it is essential that you, as the traveler, stay alert and up to date about what may be required of you while going through customs and security. You may even find our Mobile App and Website to have some valuable pre-trip information that can help you better prepare for your travels. Enjoy this Thanksgiving weekend with your family and friends and we wish you safe travels on wherever this holiday takes you!
Posted: 11/2/2018 9:00:00 AM