Airport officials offer holiday travel tips

Several dos and don'ts to follow for smooth airline travel

By Elizabeth Campbell - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - With Christmas less than a week away, airport officials are offering holiday travel tips for the many people who will be boarding a plane in the coming days. 

There are several dos and don'ts that travelers need to know during the busy holiday season to make sure they're prepared and everything flows as smoothly as possible, Debbie Jones, with the Jacksonville International Airport, said Tuesday.

At JIA, it's recommended that passengers arrive at least an hour and a half early. But at other busier airports throughout the nation, officials said, travelers should plan to get there at least two hours ahead.

As for Christmas gifts, officials said, passengers should not pack wrapped gifts, otherwise they may have to unwrap them when going through security. 

Kristin Woyak told News4Jax Tuesday that traveling with her 1-year-old daughter, Norah Jewel, isn't the easiest task, saying, "it can be very stressful." But the mother offered some advice for other parents. 

"We pack lots of snacks, a few toys, and this time we traveled really early. We had a 6 a.m. flight and that worked out well because she napped," Woyak said. 

But even traveling alone can be chaotic. Officials with JIA advised travelers be patient and plan on long lines. 

Passengers should know in advance whether they're enrolled in Transportation Security Administration PreCheck screening -- it will be on the boarding pass. Anyone going through standard screening must put jackets, shoes, belts, laptops and toiletries in a bin. But PreCheck screening allows people to keep clothing items on and laptops and toiletries in their carry-on bags. 

That leads to another tip: Don't forget the 3-1-1 rule. It pertains to liquids, gels and aerosols. Those items must be in a travel-sized bottle that's 3.4 ounces or smaller and the bottles must be able to fit in a quart-sized bag. 

"Make sure if you bring a bottled water, drink your water before you get in line," traveler Don Wogaman suggested. 

Firearms are not allowed through security. Travelers can have an unloaded firearm in a locked, hard-sided container as check baggage only. 

Officials said if passengers prepare before they arrive at they airport and give themselves proper time, they should have a pleasant experience at the airports during the holiday season. 

"Travel light, if you can travel light, is big. And if you have questions just ask your attendants they can help you," Wogaman said. 

And just because it isn't snowing in Florida, doesn't mean the final destination isn't experiencing inclement weather, so travelers should check the status of their flight before leaving for the airport. 

For question on what is or isn't allowed on the airplane, visit the TSA website

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