Why You May Want To Get To The Airport Extra Early This Holiday Season

As winter approaches, so does the hustle and bustle of the holiday travel season. With airports anticipating record-breaking passenger volumes, the need for strategic planning and early preparation has never been more crucial. In light of insights from travel experts, airlines, and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), it becomes evident that getting to the airport extra early is not just a suggestion but a key factor in ensuring a smooth and stress-free journey.

This holiday season, the TSA expects to have its busiest time ever. According to ABC News, nearly 3 million passengers passed through airport security checkpoints on the Sunday after Thanksgiving alone. Although airlines are more reliable than in previous years, travelers should be prepared for longer lines and potential disruptions due to extreme weather and technical failures. As a result, when traveling for the holidays, it's crucial to be proactive and take necessary precautions to ensure a smooth experience, including arriving at the airport long before flights board.

Plan for increased airport congestion during the holidays

This holiday season, experts expect an 11% increase in travel compared to the previous year (per USA Today). More people will be flying to their favorite destinations during December, with the busiest travel days being December 21, 22, 28, and 29. It's estimated that up to 3.7 million people will pass through airports these days. There's still hope for those who prefer a quieter airport experience. Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year's Eve are expected to be less busy, which means you could save money and avoid crowds if you travel on these days.

However, with all the excitement of holiday travel, it's important to remember that it also presents some challenges. Airports are gearing up for more people and longer lines at security checkpoints, so it's essential to plan ahead and be aware of peak travel times. It's important to keep in mind that airport security protocols are often stricter during the holidays. That's why arriving at the airport earlier than usual is a great idea to avoid any potential disruptions.

Arrive early and navigate delays for a stress-free journey

As the holiday season approaches, it's important to plan ahead for any potential travel disruptions that may arise due to winter weather conditions, such as snowstorms or freezing rain, which could cause delays or cancellations. To mitigate the impact of such disruptions, the TSA recommends arriving at least two hours early, although Marketwatch recommends three hours. Additionally, experts suggest allowing for at least an hour between connecting flights, according to USA Today.

By arriving early, you'll have more time to navigate through security lines and you might even be able to take advantage of programs like TSA PreCheck, which can speed up the security screening process. Also, it gives you time to deal with any other unforeseen circumstances that might disrupt your travel plans, such as traffic or parking issues. It's worth noting that airports can get crowded during the holiday season, creating longer wait times for parking, check-in, and other touchpoints. Arriving early can help you avoid some of these headaches and make your travel experience smoother overall. So, plan ahead, arrive early, and be prepared for any unexpected situations that may arise for safer, happier, stress-free holiday travels.