A recent CNN story began with a great holiday travel headline: “Stuffing planes like Thanksgiving turkeys” by Aaron Smith, Nov. 11, 2009 and discussed travel over the busy holiday weekend.
Expect that planes will be full even though there are fewer people traveling, because the airline industry has cut capacity by 6.9% since last year to improve efficiency, says the Air Transport Association. This year has seen the biggest capacity reduction since 1942, when civilian aircraft were diverted towards the war effort. Planes will be full but there may be fewer delays if weather doesn’t create problems as there are simply fewer planes flying. However, the “once-a-year” passenger headed home for Turkey Day is often less experienced in negotiating airport systems and security so may hold up the lines for frequent travelers.
Solution: Make sure you employ all the savvy traveler and smart packing strategies possible.
1. Print boarding passes and prepay for checked baggage before leaving for the airport. Use curbside check-in if available. Consolidate both checked and carry-on items to as few as possible – it’s only a 4-day weekend!
2. Allow enough time for heavy traffic en route to the airport, full parking lots, and crowded airport transportation systems. Give yourself at least 2 hours at the airport to safely check baggage and pass through security.
3. Wear clothing that is “screening friendly” – minimal metal parts, slip on shoes, jewelry removed and tucked into a zip-top baggie before entering the security line, coat packed into a checked or carry-on bag.
4. Pack plenty of snacks, water, reading materials and patience. You may need all of it.
Reprinted with permission from Susan Foster and Smart Packing. Sign up for Susan's e-newsletter at www.smartpacking.com - THE place for packing light information,airline baggage rules, airport security updates and packing tips for every kind of trip.