Here’s what you need to know before traveling this Thanksgiving holiday

SPOKANE, Wash. — Thanksgiving is almost here, which means many people will be traveling to and from the airport for the holiday.

Since the start of the month, TSA has screened around 2.13 million travelers a day. Through the Thanksgiving traveling season (Nov. 18 through Nov. 27), TSA says the three busiest days are the Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after Thanksgiving. TSA say they could screen as many as 2.5 million travelers on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and could be higher than 2.5 million on the Sunday after Thanksgiving.

At the Spokane International Airport, they are expecting more than 6,300 travelers on Nov. 22, 7,100 on Nov. 23, 6,600 on Nov. 26 and 7,400 on Nov. 27. TSA is saying these travel numbers might be as much if not higher than what they saw in 2019

“All of our officers will working, and so we are going to be extending their shifts. They are going to be working overtime so we can keep the number of lanes open to screen departing travelers,” said Lorie Dankers, Spokesperson for TSA Washington.

The busiest times at the Spokane International Airport tend to be 4-6 a.m. and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the AB Checkpoints and 4-8 a.m. and noon-2 p.m. at the C checkpoints.

Here is some travel advice from TSA on traveling this Thanksgiving holiday:

  1. Pack smart. Prepare for security when packing and ensure that there are no prohibited items in carry-on luggage. Bringing prohibited item to the security checkpoint will result in a bag check, slowing the screening process for you and all travelers behind you. Also, your carry-on is not a turkey, so please don’t overstuff it. A cluttered carry-on can lead to a TSA officer having to conduct a bag check.
  2. Empty your pockets prior to arriving in the checkpoint. Place wallets, phones, keys and coins from your pockets inside your carry-on bag instead of placing them in a bin. This will ensure personal items are not left behind.
  3. Know how to travel with special holiday foods and drinks. We know that many passengers like to travel with special foods and drinks to share with friends and families during the holidays. Remember that not all foods can be transported in carry-on luggage. If you can spread it, spill it, pump it or pour it AND the quantity exceeds 3.4 ounces (which is 100 ml), pack it in a checked bag. For example, jams jellies, sauces and wines in quantities larger than 3.4 ounces should go in a checked bag. Cakes, pies, cookies and breads can travel in carry-on luggage in any quantity, but may require some additional screening.
  4. 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 whether in carry-on or checked luggage, a TSA officer may have to unwrap it to determine what the item is and confirm it does not pose a security threat. Consider traveling with unwrapped items or placing them in a gift bag for easy access and resolution.
  5. Download the free myTSA app and follow TSA on social media. The myTSA app is a trusted source for last-minute travel questions, providing travelers with 24-hour access to the most frequently requested airport security information. It also features a searchable “Can I Bring” database where you can enter the name of an item and find out if you should pack it in your checked or carry-on bag. The app is available from the App Store or Google Play. Travelers can also Tweet or Message AskTSA to get answers to last-minute questions. Live assistance is available daily including weekends and holidays from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m. PT.
  6. Listen for guidance from TSA officers. Some people may not have traveled recently, so it is important to listen to the direction provided in the security checkpoint. There may be information on new technologies that help reduce touchpoints and make for a more streamlined and convenient passenger experience, so listen up!
  7. Give yourself plenty of time at the airport. Extra time may be needed for parking, checking a bag at the airline check-in counters and in the security checkpoint. There is no substitute for arriving early and prepared.

Spokane International Airport officials say do not be surprised if your favorite parking spot is taken.

“I think the issue for travelers this season is to come early and be prepared for long lines,” said Larry Krauter, CEO of Spokane International Airport. “There are numerous options in our garage and our outside lots as well as economy. We will be opening up economy overflow lots that are served by the shuttles.”

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