Since the last five years I haven't been within driving range of my home, I've always flown for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday. Coming from the East Coast I almost always connected in O'Hare which means I almost always had a horrible experience, whether it be lost bags, snowy weather or canceled flights. I keep track of the New York Times' Practical Traveler for tips on new advances in eliminating the holiday traveling woes. Their recent article, "Be Ready, and Avoid Holiday Delays," has some great new sites for help and insight. Here are just a few of them:Transportation Security Administration implemented "family lanes" at security checkpoints across 48 airports. I like the idea of this because it helps families and travelers with special needs to get through security on their own time (I hate seeing families with screaming babies already stressed out, having to be rushed through the line). This also means other travelers (i.e. me) will experience a speedier and more streamlined security line.
-Another service I use are the flight status alerts. A great one is Flightstats.com, which let travelers know if a gate or flight time has changed via e-mail or text message. Also, the iPhone has a Flight Status app for $4.99 from Apple’s iTunes App Store for the status of thousands of flights, as well as the arrival gates and baggage carousels.
-Another personal favorite is waittime.tsa.dhs.gov. This helps to avoid long lines at the airport because it lists average waiting times for security checkpoints at all airports.
Newsday.com says that Nationwide, 4.54 million travelers are expected to fly this weekend, compared with 4.89 million last year, a 7.2 percent decrease. So although travel on the busiest travel weekend of the year is expected to be lighter, delays and crowded airports will still be prevalent. I hope these tools and sites make your traveling a little easier and if you have other ideas or tips, please share.
I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving!