Thanksgiving Finds Air Travel Industry Stressed Out to the Max

Posted November 26, 2008 by Carl Unger

Turkey No one really knows what Thanksgiving travel will be like this year. Chaotic? Frustrating? Totally awesome? Hard to say. But what we do know is that the air travel industry has changed dramatically since last year, with numerous bankruptcies, countless new fees, industrywide capacity cuts between 10 and 15 percent, and the disappearance of beloved traditions such as free snacks and beverages. The question on everyone's mind, then, is how these changes will affect travel on what is traditionally the busiest travel holiday of the year.

And if you happen to be flying this Thanksgiving, you may be asking yourself how you can make things go a little more smoothly. Well, you've come to the right place. Here are a few tips:

  • If you're flying home with a pie, keep in mind that while pies and cakes are permitted through security, they may be subject to additional screening. Now, by "screening," does the TSA mean its security officials will eat the pie? That's not for me to say. But yes.*
  • Do not wrap any gifts, because security screeners may have to unwrap them for further inspection. (What's that, you say? Don't security screeners have X-ray machines that can see through luggage, and should therefore be able to see through wrapping paper? Thus negating any need to unwrap presents? Well … ) Instead, just wrap them when you get where you're going, or ship them ahead of time.
  • Check in online, thus allowing you to skip the long, torturous line at the check-in counter and proceed directly to the long, tortuous line at security. Hey, it's one less long, torturous line. Let's focus on little victories, OK?
  • Get to the airport early, at least by a few hours. Why? Do I even need to explain it? How about those long lines, the potential for weather-related delays, the difficulty of rebooking a canceled flight during the busiest travel period of the year, and the awesome shops at the airport mall. Yeah, get there early.

*This, of course, is not true in any way.

To those of you taking to the skies this Thanksgiving, I wish you luck and safe travels. Hopefully these tips will help you a little. And if anyone else has additional tips to share, please leave a comment below. Thanks!

(Photo: New Hampshire Fish and Game Department)

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