WICHITA (FoxKansas.com) -- Turkey and holiday shopping are hallmarks of the Thanksgiving holiday season but so is some of the busiest travel times of the year and experts predict that this year will be no different.
Triple A predicts that 42.5 million people will take to the roads this holiday weekend, a 4 percent increase over last year, thanks in large part to cheap prices for gas. Millions of travelers are also expected to take to the skies for the holiday travel rush, which begins the day before Thanksgiving. The Friendly Skies?
It is expected that fewer people will travel by air because of airline capacity cuts and higher fares but experts say travelers should pack their patience because it will be busy.
The weather in Wichita will be conducive to air travel but a huge swath of unsettled weather in the northeastern part of the country will likely mean delays for air travel to the East Coast and Mid-Atlantic states. Conditions in Wichita started with fog but forecasters said it would burn off by early afternoon. The temperatures on Friday will reach the low 60s while lows will range in the 30s.
Officials at Mid-Continent Airport in Wichita said travelers can take several steps to ease their travel woes, including:
•The most important thing you can do is arrive early – at least 1.5 to 2 hours before your flight. There are 12 flights that depart between 6:00 am – 7:30 am. This can cause long lines at the security checkpoint. The TSA staffs all lanes during peak periods to get passengers through as quickly as possible.
•The checkpoint opens at 4 am. Arriving early ensures you will be on the flight.
•Airlines want passengers AT the gate to begin loading AT LEAST 30 minutes before departure.
•Airlines close the aircraft door 10 minutes prior to departure. Even with all three lanes fully staffed, it is not possible to screen 500 people in 35 minutes. It is better to get here early and get to your gate in time.
•TSA has implemented new procedures that reduce, though not eliminate, pat-downs of passengers 12 and under that would otherwise have been conducted to resolve alarms while also ensuring effective security measures. Passengers 12 and under are also able to leave their shoes on when going through security checkpoints.
•NO carry-on liquids, gels, pastes and aerosols in containers 3.4 oz. or smaller.
•No knives or weapons.
•Make sure you have your government-issued photo ID.
•Travelers should remember the three simple steps to security: have ID’s out, coats and shoes off, and laptops and 311 bags out for screening. TSA reminds travelers to follow 3–1–1 for carry-on luggage for non-exempt liquids: 3 ounce bottle or less for all liquids, gels and aerosols; placed in a 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag to hold all small bottles; 1 bag per passenger placed in screening bin. The limitations on liquids apply only to carry-on bags and larger quantities may be packed in checked baggage.
•TSA also recommends that passengers do not travel with wrapped packages. In order to determine if the contents of a package are a threat, a security officer may need to unwrap and inspect the item. Snow globes of any size are not permitted in carry-on bags because officers cannot accurately determine the volume of liquid. TSA recommends passengers pack these items securely in checked baggage.
•To speed up the check-in process, check-in online from home within to 24 hours of your departure. This allows you to print your boarding passes, get your seat assignments, and pay your checked bag fees. If you are not checking bags and have your boarding pass, you can avoid the ticket counter and go straight to security.
•Customers who park in any of the airport lots can receive vehicular assistance such as airing up a low tire, starting a vehicle with a dead battery, or getting shoved out. For assistance, call 316-946-4772Hitting the Roads
While airlines will most likely be crowded, authorities said travel-by-land will also be hectic.
Triple A predicts that 42.5 millions Americans will take to their vehicles during the Thanksgiving holiday travel season to travel 50 miles or more from their homes. According to recent surveys, the average price of a gallon of regular gas is $3.42, up nearly 20 percent from $2.86 this time last year.
Triple A officials say travelers going by vehicle should:
FoxKansas.com Staff Writer Alfred Charles contributed to this report. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ensure the car's maintenance is up-to-date, including fluids, tires and windshield wiper blades.
- Ensure that the vehicle has a travel emergency kit.
- Plan in advance so that routes and expected delays, such as roadway construction, are taken into consideration before the driver gets behind the wheel.