Across the country, millions of Americans are booking airplane tickets and getting ready to pack their bags to spend time with friends, family and loved ones this summer. Before heading to the airport, here are a few tips to keep in mind to help your trip go smoothly:
Download your airline’s mobile app:
Be sure to download your carrier’s app as soon as you purchase a ticket! U.S. airlines have made significant investments in their mobile apps so they can provide important flight updates such as boarding times, gate numbers and other necessary announcements. Apps are also the best way to manage your flight reservations, view your flight status and check-in. Be sure to check out the entertainment options, too!
Keep an eye on the weather:
Airlines do everything within their control to ensure flights depart and arrive on time, but safety is always the top priority. If inclement weather creates conditions deemed unsafe for flying, our planes will not take off. Keep a close watch on developing weather systems impacting your departing city and as well as your destination.
Update travel documents:
Travelers are encouraged to check necessary travel documents before purchasing tickets. Long before you head to the airport, confirm that your passport or other valid government ID (such as a driver’s license) has not expired.
Allow several weeks to get a passport updated. Routine passport applications can take 10 to 13 weeks to process, and expedited applications may take 9 weeks or longer in some cases. [Note: these wait times are estimated by the U.S. State Department and can vary significantly.] Many countries also require passports to be valid for six months after the final day of travel. For more information visit the State Department’s passport webpage here
Check your airline’s baggage policy:
Be sure to check your airline’s baggage policy before packing. The maximum size carry-on bag is 45 linear inches (the total of the height, width, and depth of the bag). Visit the airline’s website or mobile app for additional details.
Remember TSA’s 3-1-1 Liquids rule:
Travelers may take a total of three small containers (3.4 oz or less) of liquids, gels, aerosols, creams and/or pastes through the security checkpoint, as long as they are packed in one quart-sized bag. Any liquids over the allotted size should be packed in checked luggage.
Consider signing up for TSA PreCheck:
If you do not have TSA PreCheck, consider enrolling ahead of your next trip for a faster and smoother experience at the security checkpoint. According to TSA, in March 2023, 89% of PreCheck passengers waited less than five minutes at checkpoints nationwide. More information can be found on TSA’s website here
Allow plenty of time:
Be sure to allow plenty of time if you are hailing a taxi or using a ride share company, especially if you are heading to the airport early in the morning or late at night. If you are driving to the airport, allow ample time for traffic and be aware that some parking garages are under construction.
Pack snacks and an empty water bottle:
Some airport vendors may be closed, so be prepared by packing a snack and taking an empty water bottle that you can fill after you go through the security checkpoint.
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