Airlines Prepare Passengers for a Busy Holiday

The Air Transport Association is projecting nearly 38 million passengers to travel during the upcoming
holiday season, representing growth of 5.7 percent over the 2003 holiday
season. Over this holiday season—the period of December 17 through January 3,
2005—domestic air travel is expected to be 5.6 percent greater than
during the holiday travel season in 2003. Domestically, the number of
passengers is projected to top 34.6 million, while international
projections expect the number of passengers to climb to nearly 3.3
million, up 5.7 percent.

“Especially during the busy holiday season, a little patience and kindness
goes a long way,” said ATA President and CEO James C. May. “With that in
mind, we encourage passengers to plan ahead, allowing extra time for
travel, parking, check-in and security lines.”

If you are one of the anticipated 38 million passengers flying over the
next few weeks, please consider the following tips:

Know before you go. Check your flight’s status in advance just in case
there’s been an unexpected flight delay. Most carriers allow customers to
check flight status online. Or call your carrier directly for more
information.

It’s a wrap! Do not wrap packages or gifts-they should remain unwrapped
whether carried onboard or placed in checked luggage. It is preferable to
ship them in advance, using one of the many express-mail service companies.

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Don’t cut it short. Give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport,
check in for your flight, go through security and get to the gate. (As a
general rule, most carriers request that passengers arrive at the airport
at least 90 minutes before domestic flights and up to two hours before
international flights; check with your carrier in advance for specific
recommendations.)

Check out your check-in options. Ask if your carrier offers Internet
check-in or check-in kiosks, which can help you expedite your check in and
enable you to proceed directly to security screening.

Are we there yet? Pack a bag of toys and snacks to keep your child
occupied during the flight.

Identification please. Don’t forget to bring proper identification; you’ll
need it to board your flight. And remember, the name on your ticket must
match the name on your ID.

Don’t get carried away. With carry-on bags, that is. Federal rules allow
each customer to carry one standard-size carry-on bag and one personal
item such as a purse, briefcase, small backpack, camera case or laptop
computer.

Dress for success. Check out the Transportation Security Administration’s
(TSA) Web site—http://www.tsa.gov/—to find out what not to wear to
avoid delays at the security checkpoint.

Name that bag. Make sure all your bags, checked and carry-on, are clearly
identified with your name and contact information. It’s a good idea to
place your name and contact information inside your bags as well, just in
case your luggage tags aren’t securely attached to your bags. Also, label
items like cameras, cell phones and laptop computers, or anything else you
might accidentally leave behind at the airport or on board an aircraft.

Know what’s a no-no. If you’re not sure whether an item you want to pack
is allowed, check out the TSA provides a list of prohibited and permitted
items on their Web site. And be sure to carry film in your carry-on bag;
screening equipment used to inspect checked baggage can damage film.

Pack plenty of patience. Remember the best way to start your holiday is to
keep your cool and cooperate with airline personnel and government
security screeners.
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