- The holiday season is a busy time for airports, causing busy security lines and crowds.
- Before arriving at the airport, make sure you don’t pack your holiday gifts, don’t pack your holiday meals, and don’t drive yourself to the airport.
- In the security line, don’t cut people off, don’t fight with TSA, and don’t fight with your family.
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In fact, 2.5 million people fly around the country during the holiday season, which typically stretches 18 days in December.
While it may seem like a good idea to rush through the airport to your gate like it’s any other time of the year, you may be doing things that are slowing you down and even affecting your fellow travellers.
Here are a few things you should avoid doing at the airport to make your holiday travel go that much smoother.
Do not arrive to the airport late.
It seems like a no-brainer, but there’s always that one person or family begging security to skip the line because they are about to miss their flight. Don’t be that person. The security line is bound to be significantly longer because of the holiday season – anticipate that.
Don’t drive yourself to the airport.
Airport traffic is especially busy around the holiday season, so the parking lots at airports will be especially full. There will be people fighting over the few remaining spots, and it will get costly. Instead, leave your car at home. Consider asking someone to drive you to the airport or use a car service.
Don’t travel with wrapped holiday gifts.
While travelling with gifts is allowed, there are some restrictions – some airports or items will require gift bags instead of wrapping paper. If your gifts are flagged, security will have to inspect your gifts and even unwrap them. In the process, you will slow down the security line.
Some gifts are also better checked than taken as carry on. Although it may be the more expensive option, it may be easier to just ship your presents to your destination.
Don’t travel with your holiday meals.
Also, keep the 3-1-1 liquids rule in mind as you pack. Really, just do yourself and everyone else in line a favour and buy your holiday meal at your destination.
Don’t try to outsmart security.
TSA agents have a job to do. Do not try to outsmart the agents by knowingly breaking restrictions and hoping they won’t find your bottle of wine. You’re just going to get your bag pulled aside and slow everything down.
In the same vein, be prepared to remove liquids and electronics from your carry on, and take off your shoes and big winter coats as you wait in order to speed things up.
Don’t lose your temper.
There’s nothing worse than being stuck in line as someone behind you huffs and puffs. This isn’t the time to lose your temper or your patience. Everyone wants to get through the line and to their destination, but it’s going to take time. Don’t make it more unbearable than it has to be.
Additionally, don’t lose your temper with TSA agents. If your bag is pulled aside for inspection, do not give them an attitude, as they are just doing their job and keeping you safe.
Likewise, don’t start a family fight at the airport.
Tensions are high while travelling, especially when trying to navigate the crowded airport with your entire family. But that doesn’t mean you should take it out on each other. This is neither the time nor the place to start a fight.
Do not separate from your family.
The airport is an easy place to get lost, especially for younger children in the large crowds. It’s important to know where everyone in your family is, and no one should go off alone. If you stick together, it will be easier to get to your gate on time.
Don’t get drunk before boarding.
Getting drunk before boarding may hamper your ability to navigate the crowded airport and may even cause you to miss your flight. Worst-case, you may not even be allowed aboard your flight.
Don’t forget to check the flight boards a second time.
During the holiday season, airports must accommodate an influx of passengers, as well as fluctuating weather conditions, so expect changes. Your plane may be delayed or even cancelled.
However, more commonly, your gate may simply have changed. Therefore, don’t forget to check and re-check the departure board. Don’t just sit at your gate and expect everything to go according to plan because you may end up missing your flight.
Don’t forget to download the airline’s app.
Many airlines have apps that send flight updates straight to your phone. Everything from a cancelled flight to a gate change will be at your fingertips, so you’ll never miss a thing.
The app also allows you to check in on your phone, allowing you to cut down on time at the check-in counter.
Don’t try to jump or cut the boarding line.
Lastly, when it’s finally time to board, keep it civil. Don’t try to cut people in line or inch towards the front to cut people off. There’s enough room for everyone on the plane, so wait your turn. This way, you’ll make the boarding process go smoother and faster, and you’ll be able to enjoy your holidays that much sooner.