Happy Holiday Travels


Crowded airports and long security lines have many travellers feeling more like Scrooge than Santa. Avoid airport hassles this holiday season by following these seven simple tips

Print up your boarding pass. With many airlines, you can check in online within 24 hours of your departure time and print out your boarding pass. The earlier you get your boarding pass and check in, the better your chances of not being bumped from an overbooked flight.

Travel early. To help avoid potential travel delays, take an early flight. Flights scheduled later in the day are more likely to face delays. And if a later flight is cancelled, there might not be another one until the next day.

Make the right connections. Look for connecting flights in cities less likely to be affected by snow or other winter weather delays. Also, try to avoid connections at major airports with bad on-time records such as Chicago O’Hare, Atlanta and the New York airports.

Arrive early. Especially during the busy holiday season, it’s important to arrive at the airport well in advance to allow plenty of time for check-in and security. If your airline advises you arrive two hours before departure, consider tacking on an extra 30 minutes. It’s far better to be sitting at the gate rather than getting stuck in the check-in or security line, nervously checking your watch.

Stay up to date with carry-on restrictions. Restrictions currently mandate that all liquids, gels and aerosols in your carry-on baggage (including personal toiletries) need to be placed in containers that are 100 ml or less. All containers should then be placed into a clear resealable 1 L plastic bag. (These restrictions also apply to food items such as cranberry sauce and maple syrup.)

Similar restrictions are in place at European Union airports and on European carriers. For more information, visit the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority’s Pack Smart website.

Check with your airline on allowable sizes of carry-on bags. Airlines generally allow two pieces of carry-on baggage that must fit under the seat or in the overhead bin. To get through security smoothly, declutter your carry-on bag. Make sure you are not inadvertently carrying prohibited items such as knives, scissors with longer than four-inch blades, box cutters, guns, lighters or flammable items.

Travelling with laptops and/or gaming consoles? These items should be packed in your carry-on baggage. Make sure they are accessible, because to pass through security you will need to remove them from their case and place in a bin. Other electronics such as your cell phone, MP3 player, portable DVD player and e-book reader can remain in your bag during screening.

Don’t wrap gifts. Officials may unwrap packages for inspection, increasing the time it takes you (and others) to get through security checkpoints. You may also want to consider shipping gifts ahead of time.

Sources: SmarterTravel.com; News Canada

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