Many of us have learned this the hard way: Traveling during the holidays can be a nightmare. It seems like everyone and his mother is at the airport this time of year, and according to the Air Transport Association, they are — in fact, 23.2 million people will be flying this holiday week. We’ve come up with a few helpful tips to make navigating the airport a bit more manageable:
1. Be prepared. Get to the airport with plenty of time to spare (at least two hours ahead of your scheduled flight time) and make sure you have your ID, plastic quart-sized bag of liquids and boarding pass in hand.
2. Opt for a Mobile Boarding Pass. You can completely bypass the kiosk by downloading your boarding pass straight to your smart phone. Most airlines have an option to send your ticket to your phone (think of it as a picture) and all you have to do is scan it at the security line and gate, just like a paper ticket — but better.
3. Check in 24 hours ahead of time to get the best seat selection. No one likes getting stuck with the middle seat; so make sure to get on the airline’s website and choose your seat as soon as possible.
4. Kids under 12 don’t have to take their shoes off anymore. Don’t worry about untying your little one’s sneakers; TSA has recently announced that kids 12 and under can walk through the detector with their shoes on.
5. Curbside check-in. Let’s be honest, inside the airport, it’s a zoo; so the more you can get done outside the airport, the better — especially with kids.
6. Book your trip the day before the “big travel day.” Making your trip just a day earlier can make the world of a difference. Most people travel on the Friday or Wednesday before Thanksgiving.
7. Pack your heavy winter coats and boots in your checked luggage. Bring a light sweater in your carry-on (we suggest cashmere — no wrinkles).
8. Buy a pass to the First Class Lounge for the day. You’ll be glad to have a comfortable place to rest, especially if your flight is delayed.
Photo Courtesy of iStock Photo and Mie Ahmt