TRAVEL INFORMATION AND TIPS
Air travel can be fun and exciting, in addition to being a fast and efficient method for reaching your destination. Planning ahead, leaving yourself as much time as
possible, and being aware of your surroundings and the items you are traveling with can help make your trip much more enjoyable. More than anything else, thorough advance planning will help insure your trip is successful and will minimize problems. Listed below are tips and suggestions for making your trip successful and hassle free!
Before You Go
If traveling internationally – including to Mexico, Canada or the Caribbean – be sure you have a passport. Confirm new travel document requirements at www.cbp.gov.
Arrive at the airport two hours prior to departure – particularly during peak travel periods such as holidays and peak hours such as early morning and late afternoon.
Research the latest security guidelines at the TSA website. Visit the “Helpful Links” tab for a direct link.
Follow the TSA guidelines for packing liquids and gels in your carry on luggage. Follow the 3-1-1 rule: 3 ounce or smaller containers of gels or liquids, packed in a 1 quart size plastic zip top bag, with 1 bag allowed per passenger.
Place all undeveloped film in your carry on bag as checked bag screening equipment may damage film.
If traveling with a firearm, please check with your airline for appropriate packing and check-in procedures.
Arrange for wheelchair assistance, unescorted minor assistance or any other special needs assistance with your air carrier before you arrive at the airport.
Confirm via the airline or airline web site your flight itinerary and gates. Research via the TSA web site the latest rules regarding prohibited items and packing.
Do not pack expensive jewelry, cameras, medications, small electronics, etc., in your checked bag. Carry them on the plane with you.
Pack using large zip top bags – i.e., underwear and socks in a zip top bag to simplify a possible hand search of your bag and minimize potential loss of items.
If you lock your bag, use only a TSA approved lock with the red diamond symbol on it.
LABEL YOUR BAGS – CHECKED OR CARRY ON – WITH YOUR NAME, ADDRESS AND PHONE – BOTH INSIDE AND OUT!
Give a copy of your itinerary to someone else so if you lose it or forget it, you can call to check. Also give it to the people picking you up.
If you are sending an unaccompanied minor on a flight, arrange for unaccompanied minor handling with the airline and pay the fee. It is well worth it.
If you purchased your ticket online and arranged for hotel, car rental, shuttle ground transportation, be sure you print any required vouchers from the website BEFORE you get to the airport. Otherwise, the ground carrier, car rental company, or hotel may not honor you reservation and you may have to pay again. Please DO NOT ASSUME that you can find a computer and printer to use to print your voucher or other travel documents.
On page 4 of your passport (page 7 of older passports), write your name, address, phone number and emergency contacts IN PENCIL – update these changes before leaving.
When traveling internationally, make copies of your driver’s license, passport, birth certificates and other travel documents and carry in different parts of your bags as a back up.
Put your name and phone number on as many items as you can so they can be returned if lost.
Be sure you have a number in your cell phone address book titled: home, mom, dad, brother, sister, emergency contact, etc. If you lose your phone, this is the first logical place people will look for a number to call.
Confirm luggage size and weight restrictions with your airline BEFORE YOU GET TO THE AIRPORT. Some carriers may refuse luggage over 50 pounds. Do not assume extra bags are available for purchase or loan.
When making your reservations for flights, pick the earliest flights you can. Often the prices are lower, and if you encounter a problem, the odds of getting on a later flight improve.
Consider traveling on the actual holidays to get better seats and cheaper fares.
When choosing a hotel, choose one either at the airport or in the financial district. On holidays, they often have more rooms and may have better rates.
At the Airport
Many airlines will stop accepting passengers for check-in 30 minutes prior to departure time, while some will stop accepting passengers for check-in 40 minutes prior to departure. Be sure you are at the check-in counter with sufficient time to check in. Confirm your airline’s check-in cutoff policy before arriving at the airport.
At the Security Checkpoint
Remain aware when going through security screening. Collect all of your items out of the bins when you leave the security checkpoint. Be sure you put your laptop back in your laptop bag. IT IS NOT TSA’S RESPONSIBILITY TO PUT YOUR LAPTOP OR ANY OTHER ITEMS BACK IN YOUR BAG, NOR TO REMIND YOU THAT YOU HAVE LEFT SOMETHING BEHIND.
When you get to the airport, write down where you park (garage, level, row, etc.) and take that paper with you (don’t leave it in the car). Make sure you do not leave your lights on etc., or you will come back to a dead battery.
If you are using a tour package (i.e., cruise package or ski package), confirm AHEAD OF TIME where you are to check-in and board, and what actual carrier you are flying on. Often these are charters that are using another airline’s check-in counter and gate.
Be aware of airline code-share arrangements. Confirm your gates, carrier, etc., ahead of time. For example, you may have a ticket on Air France, but it may actually be a flight on Delta or American through a code-share arrangement. You may get to the airport looking for and asking about Air France when Air France does not fly into your airport and you are really looking for a Delta flight.
If you purchase a ticket through a web travel site, (i.e., Travelocity, Expedia, etc.) keep in mind your contract is with them – not the carrier. If you have a problem – miss the flight, get bumped, flight gets cancelled, etc., the airline may instruct you to either contact the website company for relief, or they may require you to purchase a new ticket at their prices.
When claiming your bags, always be aware of your bags as thefts increase during the summer and holiday periods. Also, do not set your purse/laptop down and turn your back to claim your bag – let your relative keep them or hang on to them.
Remember that if you lose a checked bag – it does not arrive with you – this is an AIRLINE issue not an airport issue. You will need to file a claim for a lost or damaged bag WITH THE AIRLINE, not the airport.
When going through screening, remove your zip top bag from your carry on and place in the screening bin.
Remove your coats, blazers, jackets etc. when going through screening and place them in a bin. Remember to pick them up at the end of the screening process.