Holiday Travel Season is Officially Underway
WRWA Encourages Travelers to Be Prepared
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, December 19, 2017 - Colleges are out for the semester. Week-long vacations have begun. The holiday travel season is officially underway. This week, thousands of travelers will take to the skies to be with family and friends for the holidays. An estimated 117,000 passengers will pass through Will Rogers World Airport now through December 31. Thursday, Friday and Saturday are anticipated to be the busiest days this week. The airport will see an additional rush next week as OU and OSU fans head to Orlando and Los Angeles for Bowl games. As might be expected, airlines are predicting full flights.
In preparation for the rush, TSA, airlines and concessionaires are gearing up by adjusting staffing and operating hours to best handle peak times. Parking is also ready with extra staff and courtesy patrols to assist customers with any problems.
Passengers should also be prepared. A little planning will help the flying process go more smoothly.
Below are key things to remember when traveling this holiday week:
- The TSA, airlines and airport always advise that travelers arrive at the terminal at least an hour-and-a-half before departure.
- Allow enough time to check your bags. Most airlines close the check-in process 30 to 45 minutes before a scheduled departure. If you haven’t checked in by that time, you may not be able to check your bags.
- Be prepared for the checkpoint. Make sure that your carry-on does not contain prohibited items. Typical holiday items that can cause problems are liquids or gel-like foods, hunting gear and wrapped presents. A complete list of prohibited items can be found at tsa.gov.
- If a traveler is designated as TSA PreCheck, a dedicated PreCheck line is located at the west security checkpoint next to the American Airlines ticket counter.
- For those that are picking up friends and family, there is absolutely no parking or waiting at the terminal curbside. Visitors should utilize the hourly-parking or the cell-phone waiting areas. If using the cell-phone waiting area, do not move to the terminal area until the person being picked up is at the curbside. A map of all the parking and cell phone areas can be found at flyokc.com.
- Weather can be unpredictable at this time of year, so it is a good idea to track weather and flights.
Additional travel tips below or flyokc.com.
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WILL ROGERS WORLD AIRPORT HOLIDAY TRAVEL TIPS
Before Coming to the Airport:
- Perform your own baggage screening. Packing or carrying prohibited items will certainly hold you (and everyone behind you) up. Once you complete packing at home, take time to look at the contents of all your bags. Know what you can check and what you can carry on. Make sure the liquids and gels in your carry-on comply with TSA’s 3-1-1 rule (liquids and gels must be three ounces or less, all contained in one, clear Ziploc bag, and one bag per traveler.) Firearms are not allowed through the checkpoint. They can be checked per airline procedures. Check out TSA’s website tsa.gov or download the My TSA app for a comprehensive list of prohibited items along with other great tips.
- Keep your carry-on bag light. To avoid checked baggage fees, some flyers try to pack everything in their carry-on bag. Unless you are well practiced in packing orderly and efficiently (think: flight attendant, road warrior) it might save headaches to go ahead and check a bag. Over-packed bags can cause delays at the checkpoint. Plus, you will need to lift that bag into the overhead bin and haul it with you at your connecting airports which can become tiresome if your flight is delayed or you have gate changes. Use your carry-on for what it was intended: essential and immediate-need items. Remember, you are only allowed one carry-on and one personal item when you board the aircraft.
- Carry On Essentials. Items such as medications, important documents, and valuables should always be carried with you. Checked luggage is handled by many people in many different airports. If you have valuables larger than what you can carry on, you may want to consider shipping them in advance through the USPS or a package delivery company. That will give you the option to insure the items and to track them. It is also a good idea to carry a few toiletries (the 3-1-1 rule applies) just in case your flight is delayed.
- Check dimensions for carry-on bags Overhead bin space will be tight so make sure that your bag will fit.
- Make sure you have proper identification. Check to make sure you have your driver’s license or other government-issued photo ID in the wallet or purse you are taking to the airport. Next, make sure it is not expired. If you are traveling out of the country you will need a passport; this includes Canada and Mexico. Children under 18 do not require identification unless traveling internationally.
- Firearms. You CANNOT carry a firearm through the checkpoint. Passengers should remove firearms from their carry on, purse, briefcase, etc. You can check a firearm as long as you follow the proper procedures. Those can be found on the websites of the airline on which you are flying.
- Do not wrap gifts. If the contents look suspicious or cannot be seen, TSA officers will have to unwrap them. Consider shipping ahead.
- Take advantage of Apps. There are some great Apps that will help you during your travels. The My TSA App will help you with determining what items you can carry on, check or not take at all. Airline Apps allow you to check in and give you an electronic boarding pass. Flightview will help you track flights.
- Use Ask TSA. For those travelers who are social media savvy the TSA has opened a direct line of communication where you can get your questions answered. Staff at @AskTSA on Facebook and Twitter is available 7 days a week to handle your “What Ifs”. Contacting them is quick, easy and could help you to get those lesser-known checkpoint questions answered.
At the Airport:
- Arrive at the airport an hour and a half before your flight departs. The airlines say that people miss flights because they do not allow enough time, particularly for the early morning departures. Sometime it does only take 30 minutes, but often it does not. If you miss your flight,getting rebooked could be difficult.
- Know where to Park. There are several parking options at WRWA. Save time and stress by knowing where you are going to park in advance and what your alternative location will be if a lot is full. A map and pricing schedule is available at flyokc.com under Parking and Transportation.
- Be ready for the checkpoint. Since you already checked your bag at home for prohibited items and your liquids and gels comply with the 3-1-1 rule, you should be able to pass through the checkpoint with relative ease. Just make sure to remove laptops from their bags and place in a bin, then place your Ziploc bag, shoes, jackets and sweaters in separate bin.
- Don’t joke about security or make threats.
- TSA Pre✓ The TSA Pre✓ program allows pre-approved travelers to leave on their shoes, light outerwear and belt, keep their laptop in its case and their 3-1-1 compliant liquids/gels bag in a carry-on. Travelers with Pre✓on their boarding pass will be directed to a special screening lane at the west security checkpoint. You can sign up for Pre✓ through the TSA website tsa.gov. If your traveling companions are not Pre✓cleared, they will not be able to go through the Pre✓line with you.
- Taking a pet through the checkpoint. Remove pet from carryon, keep on leash at all times (this mean anywhere in the airport,) use pet relief area outside Bag Claim , and contact airline for rules on traveling with pets.
On the Plane:
- BYOB – Bring Your Own Blanket. Many airlines do not provide blankets anymore, and if they do, they may have been used by others that day. Travel blankets are inexpensive and compact and most discount stores carry them.
- BYOE – Bring Your Own Entertainment. Books, games, portable DVD players, all things that will keep you and your kids entertained during the flight. Don’t forget the earrbuds. Your seatmates will be appreciative.
- Stay hydrated. The cabin of the plane is not humidified, so to prevent that parched, dry feeling drink plenty of water.
- Follow the flight attendants instructions. The plane is not going to depart until you turn off your electronic devices. So don’t make the flight attendant ask you five times; just do it.