Holiday Flying Travel Tips

Santa and airplane, holiday flying tips, illustration Michael Klein, image

Try to keep a cheerful holiday spirit when you join the hordes at the airports.

Traveling at Thanksgiving or Christmas can be a nightmare. A delayed flight, a block-long line at the security gate, and you’ll have sympathy for the Grinch. These tactics can help you land in good cheer.

ZIP IN AND OUT. Long-term parking lots will likely be jam-packed, so make a reservation with one several months ahead. At your destination, whoever picks you up may be able to avoid circling the terminal by waiting for free in a cell phone lot. Once you arrive, you call your ride.

AVOID GIFT GLITCHES. Tucking that olallieberry jelly into your purse for Aunt Sue will cause a jam at security. Check www.tsa.gov/travelers for a list of what’s permitted in carry-ons. Tip: Don’t pack wrapped gifts;mail them instead. The U.S. Postal Service is the cheapest option.

MOVE FAST. Canceled flight? Use your cell phone to call the airline’s 800 number while you wait in the reticketing line. You’ll rebook faster.

BEDECK YOUR BAGS. Make your suitcase easy to spot at the carousel by tying a red bow onto its handle. Bag didn’t make it onto the plane? Many airlines allow you to track luggage status on their Web sites by entering a baggage locator number.

CATCH THE HOLIDAY SPIRIT. Bring It’s a Wonderful Life or Elf on DVD to view in-flight on your laptop. Netflix charges subscribers no late fees. You can also rent movies from outfits such as InMotion Entertainment (www.inmotionstores.com.) at PDX, LAX, and SFO.

Illustration by Michael Klein

This article was first published in November 2007. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.

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