ALLOW PLENTY OF TIME
One of the biggest mistakes travelers make is not giving themselves enough time prior to their flight . Arriving late can result in not being able to check a bag or worse, missing a flight. Passengers are advised to arrive at the terminal 2 hours prior to departure. Many airlines now require that passengers and bags be checked in as early as 45 minutes prior to departure. If you are not checked in by that time your seat can be given away. Be sure to check with your airline on the cutoff times for checking in.
When packing for your trip, think about what items you can carry with you and what items need to be in your checked baggage.
- The 3-1-1 rule applies for liquids and gels carried through the security checkpoint. This means that any liquid, gel or aerosol must be in a container with no more than 3.4 ounces in it and all containers must fit into one, clear, zip-top bag. Only one plastic bag per passenger is allowed. The bag must be taken out of your suitcase or carry-on and placed in the plastic bin.
- Know what items are allowed in your carry-on bag, what can be packed in your checked baggage and what items are prohibited. A comprehensive list of items prohibited by the Transportation Security Administration can be found at tsa.gov. Some items may not be a security threat but are considered a hazardous material when transported by air such as lighter fluid or aerosol spray starch. To find out if an item is considered a hazardous or dangerous good, go to faa.gov/go/packsafe. Firearms are not allowed in carry on luggage. Firearms can be checked if packed according to regulation and declared to the airline at the time of checkin.
- Do not overpack and try to keep suitcases as uncluttered as possible.
- Do not to wrap presents before traveling; if a screener cannot determine what the item is or if it needs additional inspection, the gift will have to be unwrapped.
- Be sure to check about carrying special sports equipment like fishing poles, scuba gear or hunting guns. A complete list of acceptable and prohibited items and how to transport them is available at tsa.gov
KNOW THE BAGGAGE RULES
Most airlines charge fees for checked baggage and some even charge for carrryon bags. At WRWA, only Southwest Airlines does not charge for checked baggage. Many airlines also have cutoff times for checking bags, some up to 45 minutes prior to departure. Be sure to verify bag fees and cuttoff times with the airline on which you are flying before coming to the airport.
- Most airlines allow you to check your bag online. When you arrive at the airport, you can proceed directly to the bag drop line at the ticket counter.
- Make sure that your bag is not over the weight limit, as it may be subject to additional fees.
- If you plan to carry luggage on board, remember that it must be a certain size and you are only allowed one other personal item such as a purse or laptop. Size regulations are listed on the airlines’ websites.
CHECK IN ONLINE
Checking in online will allow you to print your boarding pass or receive it digitally on your mobile device. You can also prepay baggage fees. This will save you time at the ticket counter.
HAVE PROPER IDENTIFICATION
Be sure to have a government-issued ID, such as your driver’s license, to pass through the checkpoint. Your name must match the exact name on your airline ticket.
- Remember if you are traveling out of the country, including Canada and Mexico, you will need a passport.
- Children under 18 do not require identification
The State of Oklahoma is now issuing REAL ID compliant driver's licenses. If you want to use your driver's license to board commercial aircraft on or after Oct. 1, 2021, you will need a REAL ID compliant driver's license!
Want to apply for a REAL ID with the State of Oklahoma? Visit the OKDPS REAL ID page.
If you are concerned about getting a REAL ID in time for the 2021 deadlines, we are advising everyone to go ahead and get a U.S. Passport or U.S. Passport Card. You can start the application process or get more details by visiting the U.S. Dept. of State.
BE READY FOR THE CHECKPOINT
Being ready to pass through the checkpoint not only helps you get through more quickly, but helps the entire line move faster. Remember: Laptops must be removed from their bags and placed in a bin with nothing else.
- The zip-top bag with your liquids and gels must be removed from your suitcase, purse or briefcase and placed in a bin where it is clearly visible to screeners.
- Shoes, jackets and sweaters must be removed and placed in a bin.
- Minimize heavy jewelry or wearing items that could alarm at the checkpoint such as jeans with sequins or studs.
- The Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) requires divesting everything that could show up as an anomoly including wallets, glasses, etc.
- TSA has implemented more random screenings at the checkpoints, so you may be asked to have your hand swabbed (a simple swipe on the hands) or your bags may undergo additional screening.
To speed up the screening process, you may want to consider enrolling in the TSA' Pre✓™ (Precheck) program. Click here to learn more about the expedited screening benefits offered in the program. Enrollment is $85. Fingerprinting and two forms of valid government identification are required. The TSA Pre✓™ enrollment center in Oklahoma City accepts walk-ins but you can pre-enroll and schedule an appointment by visiting tsa.gov.
BRING THINGS TO KEEP YOU AND YOUR KIDS BUSY
Books, games, laptops and snacks are great diversions and help pass time on the ground and in the air.
LEAVE AN ITINERARY AT HOME
Sounds like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many times a traveler cannot be reached in an emergency situation because no one knows where to reach them. Be sure to leave a copy of your flight itinerary, hotel name and phone number and other pertinent information with a friend or family member.
There are many things that can cause flight delays, not the least of which is the weather. Be prepared by carrying necessary items, such as medications, in your carryon along with activities and snacks for you and your family.