With Thanksgiving on Thursday, we have officially reached the holiday season. Again.
Never fear though, I’ve got tips for getting through all of the traditional headache-heralds: long security lines, missing luggage, and sub-par, paid-too-much eats.
With 27 million people set to fly this Thanksgiving season, long security lines will grow even longer. Airports are asking that travelers give themselves an extra half hour to check-in and pass security lines, making suggested arrival times two plus hours in advance of the departure time. One of our business travel bloggers, Ken Walker, offers an amazing tip for zipping past lengthy lines as today’s featured article.
I’ve also compiled quick tips for expediting your own passage through the big, grey metal detectors:
- Wear slip on shoes. This just makes the whole taking-off-your-shoes and putting-your-shoes-back-on shuffle go a little quicker, a little more gracefully.
- Wear pants that fit. Belts are the most common to blame for the frequent beeps of the airport security check-point. Leave yours at home or in your bags and avoid this delay.
- Empty your pockets. Just throw all those other common offenders — keys, lighters, et al. — in your carry-on and you’ll walk straight through.
- Leave the gifts unwrapped. If there’s something “suspicious” in one of them, security will have to wreck that perfect wrap job. So either send wrapped packages via mail or wrap gifts after your arrival.
- Remember the little things. Are your boarding pass and ID out and ready? Is your water bottle actually filled with water? Do you have any assuredly innocuous but still contraband liquids in your possession? Is your laptop out of its case? Keep these things in mind and keep moving!
Bags get lost, it happens. But when it happens to you, it doesn’t have to hamper your whole trip.
- Stand out in the crowd. Tie a brightly colored ribbon to your bag, buy a vivid ID tag, or buy vibrant and unusual luggage. Among the throngs of black, you want to be able to spot your bag in an instant. Similarly you want to detract the distracted from taking your bag. Finally, when your the winner of the Lost Your Luggage lottery, you want a bag with easily identified features.
- Stake your claim. Place copies of your itinerary in the front pocket of your bag so that airline officials can track you down in LAX when your luggage ended up in LaGuardia.
- Airport tags on target? Remove all old airport tags. Also, before you leave the check-in area, pay attention that your bags have the correct tags marking your final destination.
- Keep what you need. Whatever you may need immediately upon arrival should be kept with you at all times, i.e. in your carry-ons. If you’re going from airport to meeting, bring along a copy of everything you’ll need, and email or fax a copy to the location of the meeting and to important colleagues or clients.
Finally, food can be a source of joy and pain this time of year. One guess as to which category most airline food falls. Read the 2007 DietDetective.com Airline Snack Food Investigation for a thorough look at food on your flights.