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Thanksgiving Travel Tips


Avoca, PA (November 22, 2019) – Some 1,000 travelers per day will be screened at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport (AVP) over the Thanksgiving holiday season as they pass through the Transportation Security Administration checkpoint.

The number of passengers expected to fly this Thanksgiving season is expected to be high with more than 2.4 million passengers per day expected to pass through Transportation Security Administration checkpoints nationwide each day between November 22nd and December 2nd. That’s nearly a five percent (5%) increase compared to last year.

TSA started to see a change in travel patterns for Thanksgiving in 2017 and 2018, and that is expected to continue this year. Instead of waiting for the day before Thanksgiving to travel, TSA started to see the increase in passenger volume start the Friday before Thanksgiving. That trend is expected to extend through the day before Thanksgiving, with passengers returning home on both the Sunday and Monday after Thanksgiving.

The busiest travel days will be the Tuesday and Wednesday leading up to Thanksgiving and the Sunday after Thanksgiving.

TSA takes many security measures, seen and unseen, while working closely with industry partners such as airlines and airports to enhance the traveling experience and ensure every passenger arrives to their destination safely.

The best way to ensure a quick trip through the security screening process is to prepare, prepare, prepare.

Passenger preparedness can have a significant impact on wait times at security checkpoints nationwide. To facilitate the security screening process, travelers should arrive at the airport early. Travelers are strongly encouraged to check in at least 90 minutes prior to departure. Once checked in, proceed directly to the security screening checkpoints. At least 30 minutes prior to departure, travelers should be at their departure gates, ready to board. The extra time is to ensure that passengers have time to park their cars or return rental cars, check their bags with their airline, get their boarding pass and hit the restroom—all before heading to the security checkpoint.

While TSA concentrates on aviation security operations, travelers can assist by coming to the airport prepared. Here are some helpful travel tips to make the security checkpoint experience go smoothly during the holidays – and throughout the year: 

  • Know what to expect at the airport. The busiest times at the security checkpoint at AVP are the early morning hours, however, there could be additional busy times during holiday travel. Arrive early. During the peak holiday travel rush, arrive at the Airport at least two hours prior to your flight departure to ensure adequate time to be screened through the security checkpoint. By arriving early, you should arrive at your gate with time to spare.
  • Dress for security screening. Simplify your experience by avoiding bulky jewelry, scarves, hair accessories and large belt buckles since these types of items are likely to require additional screening. Remember to remove all items from your pockets and secure them in your carry-on bag before being screened at the security checkpoint.
  • Use gift bags instead of wrapping paper. Wrapped items are screened just like any other item. If a wrapped item alarms the security screening technology in carry-on or checked luggage, a TSA officer may have to unwrap it to determine what the item is. Consider traveling with unwrapped items or placing them in a gift bag for easy access and resolution.
  • Traveling with foods. Baked goods and other solid foods are allowed in carry-on luggage. This includes breads, cookies, candies and meats. However, jams, jellies, sauces, gravies or other liquids need to be in quantities of 3.4 ounces (100 ml) or less to travel in your carry-on. Anything over 3.4 ounces needs to be placed in a checked bag.
  • Organize your carry-on bag. Electronics larger than a cell phone should be easily and quickly accessible. For non-TSA PreCheck passengers, all electronic devices larger than a cell phone should be placed in bins for x-ray screening with nothing on top or below, similar to how laptops have been screened for several years.
  • Travel-size liquids reminder. Remove travel-size liquids, gels and aerosols (3.4 ounces or less) from carry-on luggage. Ensure they can be quickly and easily accessed. Any quantities larger than 3.4 ounces should be placed in checked baggage.
  • AskTSA on social media. Question about what you can bring through the security checkpoint? Tweet or Message AskTSA weekdays from 8 AM to 10 PM Eastern Time and weekends/holidays from 9 AM to 7 PM Eastern Time.
  • Call TSA Cares. Travelers or families of travelers with disabilities and/or medical conditions may call the TSA Cares helpline toll free at 855-787-2227 with any questions about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at the security checkpoint as well as to arrange for assistance at the checkpoint. It is recommended to call at least 72 hours prior to traveling.

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