Thanksgiving Day Travel Survival Guide 2021


Any attempt to recycle travel tips from previous Thanksgiving holidays falls short, as we have the most unique holiday travel time ever.

This year is a whole new ballgame and we need to approach this travel holiday season like none other.

Reconfirm, early and often:

With so many flight changes being made on an hourly basis within the industry, we are seeing some of the change notifications are not being received by passengers. As a result, we need to reconfirm our reservation multiple times a day leading up to the day of travel, for both the outbound and return portion. Some passengers are shocked to find their non-stop flight has been changed to a double-connection itinerary that will take 17 hours to travel.

Arrive extra early and get through the TSA screening line fast:

This is the year arriving two hours before departure could be cutting it close, so I have been advising 2.5 to 3.0 hours before departure as a planned arrival window. Once at the airport, proceed through the security screening line as quickly as possible. We have already seen reports of passengers arriving early, only to then spend 90 minutes chatting with friends before jumping into the security line - which then experiences delays. The delays then cause the frantic passengers to miss their flight.

Get to your boarding gate well in advance:

Flight delays brought on by weather will lead to swaps in airplane/equipment and that can often lead to a change in gate (to accommodate the different size of aircraft). If you arrive late at the gate of departure you may be surprised to see it has been moved to a gate completely on the other side of the airport. You are now required to sprint through the masses in order to make the flight.

If you arrive and your aircraft is not there yet, consider using flightaware.com. It is a free site and you can place your departure airline and flight number into their home screen to get the details on your flight. At the very top of the screen is a link that will allow you to track the inbound aircraft - giving you the very latest in aircraft tracking data. It is the same site you will see gate agents using at the airport!

Turn to social media if there is a problem:

If your flight is delayed or cancelled nothing can be more distressing than a slow moving line as you wait to speak with an agent. Instead, you can use social media for a tweet or a Facebook message to your airline as a way to plead for help. Simply provide your six digit reservation number and briefly explain what is going on and ask for options. This is not the time to provide the past travel experiences on your last six flights as the shorter messages get the quickest response. Airlines have more staff on their social media teams than they have at an airport or a reservation center where phone calls are answered.

Keep your phone charged:

How many times have you looked at your phone to see a 56% charge and thought, "Yeah, that will be enough." It will not be enough if you come off the airplane and run into a multi-hour flight delay because you will need as much battery life as you can get to help you get through the event. I cannot tell you the number of times I have watched people dash about an airport desperately looking for a power station because their phone has died from the three hours of games they have been playing.


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