Holiday travel advice

Andy Singer: Holiday Travel Song From late November to the end of December is a time of heavy leisure travel as families and friends join together for the holidays. Travel during this time of year has its own special concerns during normal times, and since September 11 times extra security and unexpected changes have become the norm. The following holiday travel advice is especially relevant given the current circumstances.

Confirm your trip
Because of the rapid changes in security and operating procedures, as well as changes in the availability of flights, you should contact the airline at least a day in advance to confirm your flight. Depending on the cause, you may be compensated for changes in schedules or for overbooked flights. The following provide information about how to deal with these situations
Compensation for delays and overbookings
How to complain effectively

Review security issues and requirements
Flying on aircraft and entering the secure areas of airports should not be a hassle or a concern, especially if you reveiw the following information.
Airport security Issues
Advice for the infrequent Flyer
Airport security Issues
Dangerous and prohibited Items

Arrive early
Since September 11, going through the passenger screening checkpoint has become much slower. During busy times, the wait at many major airports can be more than an hour, so arriving at least two hours early is a good idea. The following links offer advice on how to deal with this increased level of security:

Keep your identification and ticket within easy reach
You may be asked to show your ticket and photo identification several times, so keep them with you at all times.

Plan ahead for travel with children
Planning ahead is the best way to make travel with kids easier. This is especially true with unaccompanied children. Different airlines have different rules and restrictions for unaccompanied children. For example, some allow younger children only on nonstop flights. Because only ticketed passengers are usually allowed past security, you may have to contact the airline ahead of time to get permission to escort a child to the gate. Some airlines may issue a "companion pass" that allows you to escort your unaccompanied child. For more information, visit the following pages:
Child Safety in the Air
Top 10 safety tips for traveling with children
Top 10 tips for children traveling alone

Expect crowded aircraft, so pack carefully
Holiday travel usually means aircraft that are more crowded than usual. Also, do not completely wrap any present in either carry-on or checked luggage so that they can be checked more easily by security screeners. You can do your part by limiting the size and weight of your carry-on luggage. For more luggage hints, check out the following:
Baggage advice
Carry-on baggage advice
Top ten baggage Tips

Related information
Airlines without a fatal crash
December plane crashes
Airport security issues

Cartoon by Andy Singer

Holiday travel advice -- Revised: 25 November