Travelers Encouraged to Plan Ahead and Anticipate Airport Changes
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, November 16, 2018 – As a possible record-setting holiday travel season approaches, airport personnel would like to remind travelers that a few things may have changed since their last trip through Will Rogers World Airport. Some of these changes may include the availability of parking areas and the screening of electronic devices at the TSA security checkpoint. It is important that all travelers be prepared for these changes before they arrive.
With passenger numbers running 11% higher than 2017, travelers can expect larger crowds in the parking areas, at the TSA checkpoint and in the busy passenger pick-up areas. A little planning can help everyone navigate more smoothly and reduce stress.
Here’s how to prepare for this busy holiday travel season:
- Travelers should always arrive at the terminal at least an hour-and-a-half before departure. If possible, arriving two hours in advance is best. It helps to reduce travel stress.
- WRWA has five parking areas and parking staff is prepared to accommodate all parkers. Certain areas do fill up more quickly than others, so travelers should have an alternative location just in case. Parking information, including the current rates and locations, can be found at flyokc.com/parking-rates. Reminder, hourly parking is still temporarily located to the first entrance of the lower level in the covered garage. Hourly rates still apply in this area.
- Check-in early for flights. Most airlines close the check-in process 30 or 45 minutes before a scheduled departure (check with your airline). If passengers haven’t checked in by that time, they may not be issued a boarding pass or could lose their seat to stand-by passengers.
- Make time for the ticket counter process and checking bags. Too many travelers focus on the checkpoint queue and forget that lines can form at the counter as well.
- Be prepared for the checkpoint. Travelers should ensure that their carry-on does not contain prohibited items. Typical holiday items that can cause problems are liquids, foods, hunting gear and wrapped presents. A complete list of prohibited items can be found at tsa.gov. All electronics should be placed in a separate bin and should not be stacked.
- Large groups entering the security queue together can often create surges at the checkpoint, significantly increasing wait times for all passengers. Small groups should get themselves and their immediate traveling companions through security first. There are plenty of comfortable post-security locations to wait for the full party to assemble.
- The TSA west security checkpoint, next to the American Airlines ticket counter, has been expanded to include an annex. This means that all travelers will enter the security checkpoint on the west end. The dedicated PreCheck lane is still available at this location.
- For those who are picking up travelers, there is absolutely no parking or waiting at the terminal curbside on the upper and lower levels. Only active loading is allowed. Drivers who park or wait will be subject to ticketing.
- Visitors should use hourly parking or the cell phone lot to wait for their traveler. If using the cell phone lot, drivers should not drive up to the terminal until the person being picked up is on the curbside. A map showing the location of the cell phone lot can be found at flyokc.com.
- Weather can be unpredictable, including the weather at a traveler’s destination or connecting airport. To avoid surprises, it is always a good idea to track weather and flights.
Additional travel tips can be found below or at flyokc.com.
# # # #
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. Visit 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 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. This 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 is 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 at least 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. If you miss your flight, getting rebooked could be difficult.
- Know where to Park. There are several parking options at WRWA. Save time and avoid 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.
- 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 electronic devices larger than a cell phone (laptops, tablets, e-readers and handheld game consoles) 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.
- Taking a pet through the checkpoint. Remove pets from any carry-on, keep them on a leash at all times (this means anywhere in the airport), use the pet relief area across from Cross Grain Brewhouse 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, tablets, all things that will keep you and your kids entertained during the flight. Don’t forget the earbuds. 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 attendant’s 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.