Happy Thanksgiving. Eat well. Travel safely.
Happy Thanksgiving. Eat well. Travel safely.
Flying somewhere this Thanksgiving? Here are tips to keep sane.
A lot of turkey wishbones – and travel records – are set to be broken during the Thanksgiving holiday this year.
AAA expects 54.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home over the holiday, a 4.8 percent increase over last year and the highest Thanksgiving travel volume since 2005.
For the 48.5 million Americans expected to travel by car over the holiday, the best advice is: leave early. INRIX, a global mobility analytics company, predicts that in the country’s most congested cities the Thanksgiving drive over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house could take four times longer than it might on a ‘normal’ travel day.
Traffic at airports and in the skies will break records as well.
For the holiday period, which officially begins Wednesday, November 21 and runs through Sunday, November 25, the Transportation Security Administration expects to screen 25 million people at U.S. airports, a 7 percent increase over last year.
Looking a bit broader at the 12-day Thanksgiving air travel period already underway, Airlines for America (the airline trade organization) predicts a record 30.6 million passengers will fly on U.S. airlines.
That’s up from the estimated 29 million passengers who flew during Thanksgiving last year.
Flying over Thanksgiving? Travel tips for the airport
As with driving or going anywhere over the holiday, the key advice for flying is: leave for the airport early.
That not only helps reduce stress, but builds in extra time for all those things that can go wrong, such as discovering your favorite airport parking lot is already filled up or there’s a hiccup with your airline ticket.
Transportation Security Administration officials say new screening technologies, coupled with an additional 80 passenger screening canine teams and more than 1,200 TSA officers will help with the increased volume of passengers at airport security checkpoints this year. But there may still be long, slow-moving lines at many airports.
To make sure you’re not the person holding up the line, take some extra time when prepping and packing to make sure your carry-on items are checkpoint-savvy.
*Dress for success: Transfer small items, such as wallets, phones and keys, from your pockets to your carry-on before you get to the checkpoint. Wear shoes or boots that are easy to take off and put back on.
*Download and print your boarding pass. Putting your boarding pass on your mobile phone means one less paper to keep track of. But a paper version is good back-up in case your phone loses its charge while you’re waiting on a long line, or if the checkpoint scanner can’t read the downloaded version of your pass.
*Review the rules. If you’re an infrequent traveler, find a quart-sized clear bag and take a moment to read TSA’s primer on the liquids rule.
If you’re traveling with food to eat during your journey or with a turkey or something else destined for the Thanksgiving table, you will likely be asked to take it out of your bag and put it in a separate bin for a ride through the x-ray machine.
TSA allows turkeys, turkey sandwiches, pies cakes and other baked goods through the checkpoints, but foodstuffs that are liquid, such as jellies and cranberry sauce, need to travel in checked bags.
Here are some other tools and tips that might help smooth out your Thanksgiving flying journey.
*Charge up your phone and other travel gadgets, including one or more back-up chargers, before you leave home. While airports have added more power ports, finding an empty one can still be a challenge. Show up with a power cord with extra plugs, and you’ll be a hero.
*Download the apps for your airline and all airports you’re traveling through and sign up for the alerts for each of your flights.
*Get numbers. Make a list of all the phone numbers you might need for your trip. The list should include not only your airline, but also the rental car or shuttle company you’ve booked with, your hotel, the person picking you up and the person who dropped you off (in case you left something behind). Put those numbers in your phone and on paper.
*Pack extras. Bring along snacks, a hefty amount of patience, and your sense of humor. Add a stash of ‘mad money’ to your wallet. That way, if something goes wrong despite all your planning and preparation you’ll be prepared to buy yourself or your family a stress-busting treat.
Enjoy the holiday!
On Thanksgiving Day active-duty military members will be able to get a free meal at airports in restaurants (listed below) operated by Delaware North.
Traveling on Thanksgiving day but not active militiary? Your meal won’t be free, but you’ll find many airport restaurants have turkey and Thanksgiving-themed meals on (traditional and not) on their menus.
On Thanksgiving Day, active-duty military members who show their military ID will receive one free entrée item and a free non-alcoholic beverage at more than 150 participating restaurants in 18 airports where Delaware North operates food and beverage outlets.
Participating locations include venues in airports in Atlanta, Austin, Nashville, Boston and many other airports listed below.
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
40/40 Club (Concourse D)
Argo Tea (Concourse T)
Atlanta Stillhouse (Concourse T)
Bojangle’s (Concourse T)
Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (Concourse D and T)
Einstein Bros. Bagels (Concourse D)
FabYo (Concourse D)
Famous Famiglia (Concourse D)
The Market by Food & Wine (Concourse D)
Freshen’s (Concourse D)
Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill (Concourse D)
Grindhouse Killer Burgers (Concourse D and T)
Harvest & Grounds (Concourse D)
Jamba Juice (Concourse T)
Mustard Seed (Concourse D)
Subway (Concourse T)
Terrapin Cigar and Smoke Lounge (Concourse D)
Uncle Maddio’s Pizza (Concourse T)
Wolfgang Puck Express (Concourse D)
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS)
Annie’s Café & Bar (West Terminal)
Austin Java Coffee House (West Terminal)
Juice Land (Food Court)
Peached Tortilla (Food Court)
Salt Lick BBQ (Central Terminal)
iVini (West Terminal)
Nashville International Airport (BNA)
La Hacienda (Concourse A)
O’Charley’s (Concourse C)
Tootsie’s (Concourse C)
Whitt’s/Swett’s (Concourse C)
Boston Logan Airport (BOS)
Pei Wei (Terminal B)
WPizza (Terminal B)
Boise Airport (BOI)
13th Street Grille & Pub (pre-security)
Bardenay (Food Court)
Cross Grain Brewhouse (Concourse B)
Einstein Bros. Bagels (Food Court)
Harvest & Grounds (Concourse C)
Parilla (Concourse C)
River City Café (Concourse B)
Smashburger (Concourse B)
Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BUF)
Lake Erie Grille
Queen City Kitchen
Charleston International Airport (CHS)
Burger King (Central Hall)
Caviar & Banana’s (Central Hall)
Charleston Beer Works (Concourse A)
DeSano’s Pizza Kitchen (Concourse B)
Harvest & Grounds (pre-security and Central Hall)
Jack Nicklaus Golden Bear Grill (Central Hall)
Denver International Airport (DEN)
Boulder Beer Tap House (Jeppensen Terminal West)
Denver Central Market (Concourse A)
Red Rocks Bar & BBQ (Jeppensen Terminal East)
Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)
360 Burrito (Terminal D)
Einstein Bros. Bagels (Terminal D)
Fuddruckers (Terminal D)
Railhead BBQ (Terminal D)
Salt Lick BBQ (Terminal A)
Twisted Root (Terminal A)
Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW)
Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (baggage claim)
Harvest & Grounds (McNamara Terminal C)
Hockeytown Café (North Terminal)
Le Petit Bistro (North Terminal)
Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen (McNamara Terminal)
Subway (McNamara Terminal A and C)
TGI Friday’s (North Terminal)
The Robert Mondavi Experience (McNamara Terminal C)
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL)
Blue Bar (Terminal 3F)
Burger King (Terminal 4G East)
Casavana Restaurant (Terminal 4G)
Chili’s Restaurant (Terminal 3)
Cross Grain Brewhouse (Terminal 4)
DeSano’s Pizza Kitchen (Terminal 4G)
Einstein Bros. Bagels (Terminal 3F)
Espresso Bar (Terminal 3F)
Food and Wine (Terminal 3F)
Harvest & Grounds (Terminal E-6 and Terminal 4)
Jack Nicklaus Golden Bear Grill (Terminal 3E)
Kafe Kalik (Terminal 4G East)
Pei Wei (Terminal 3F)
Plane Box Food Company & Bar (Terminal 4G)
Steak ‘n Shake Signature (Terminal 3F)
Zona Fresca (Terminal 4G)
Casa Noble (Terminal 4G)
PIE Pizza Kiosk (Terminal 3 Las Olas)
Café Sienna (Terminal 3 Las Olas)
Cucina and Co. (Terminal 3 Las Olas)
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (pre-security and Terminal 5)
Earthbar (Terminal 6)
L.A. Farmers Market (Terminal 5)
Skewers by Morimoto (Terminal 5)
The Habit Burger (Terminal 6)
Wahoo Fish Tacos (Terminal 6)
Wolfgang Puck Express (Terminal 7)
Wpizza (Tom Bradley Terminal – pre-security)
Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP)
Angel Food Bakery (Concourse E)
Smack Shack (Mall)
Twin’s Grill (Concourse C)
Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY)
Air Meals (Concourse B)
Café Roux (Concourse B)
Café Roux Express (Concourse C)
Copeland’s Gourmet Kitchen (Concourse C)
Dooky Chase (pre-security)
French Market Cafe and Bar (Concourse B)
Le Petit Bistro (Concourse B)
PJ’s Coffee (Concourse C and D)
Taco Lab (Concourse B)
West Beignet (West Lobby)
Wow Cafe & Bar (Concourse D)
Ye Olde College Inn (Concourse D)
Will Rogers World Airport (Oklahoma City) (OKC)
Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (East Concourse)
Cross Grain Brewhouse (East Concourse)
Moe’s Southwest Grill (East Concourse)
Oklahoma Station Bakery (East Concourse)
Rout 66 Bar (West Concourse)
Tuckers Onion Burgers (East Concourse)
Route 66 Grille (West Concourse)
Cinnabon (East Concourse)
Schlotsky’s (East Concourse)
Cool Greens (West Concourse)
Café 66 (pre-security)
Ontario International Airport (ONT)
Auto Club Speedway Café (Terminal 4)
Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (Terminal 4)
El Paseo Mexican Café (Terminal 2)
Schlotsky’s Deli (Terminal 4)
Wpizza (Terminal 2)
Rock & Brews (Terminal 4)
Einstein Bros. Bagels (Terminal 4)
Wahoo’s Fish Tacos (Terminal 4)
Cross Grain Brewhouse (Terminal 2)
Harvest & Grounds (Terminal 2)
Richmond International Airport (RIC)
Caribou Coffee (Terminal A and B; Atrium)
Club Level Grille (Terminal B)
Cross Grain Brewhouse (Terminal A)
Cheeburger Cheeburger (Terminal B)
Tampa International Airport (TPA)
Auntie Anne’s (Terminal A)
Chick-fil-A (Main Terminal)
Four Green Fields (Terminal E)
Panda Express (Terminal E)
Café by Mise en Place (Terminal F)
PDQ (Terminal C)
NYNY Pizza (Terminal A)
RumFish Grill (Terminal C)
[My story about Thanksgiving travel first appeared on Today.com]
Whether your family will make its way over rivers and through woods or race across town to catch a plane, traveling during the Thanksgiving holiday can be hectic and stressful.
That will certainly be the case this year, as a record 28.5 million holiday travelers are expected to fly on U.S. airlines, an increase of 3 percent over Thanksgiving 2016, according to airline trade group Airlines for America.
A4A pegs the increase to a strong economy and low airfares. But while airlines are adding seats to accommodate the spike in demand, crowded airports, full airplanes and bad weather can easily turn the holiday weekend into a travel turkey.
The data teams at Google Flights and Reward Expert confirm that the busiest days to fly over this holiday will be (no surprise) Friday, November 17 and Wednesday, November 22 – before the official holiday – and Sunday, November 26, when everyone tries to make their way home.
Google Flights expects airports in 10 cities – New York City, Boston, Chicago, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Honolulu – to be the busiest this holiday, while Reward Expert crunched Department of Transportation data from the past five years to predict which airports might give Thanksgiving travelers the most problems this year.
While the Honolulu, Atlanta, Charlotte Douglas, Southwest Florida and Salt Lake City airports had the best on-time performance during Thanksgiving over the past five years, if you’re traveling through Sacramento, Houston Hobby, Oakland, Newark Liberty or San Francisco airports this year, the statistics says you’re likely to encounter delays.
Here are some tips that might make traveling during this holiday a bit smoother.
Some airport websites now have tools that report wait times at their security checkpoints, but assume lines will be longer than usual. Your best defense: get a good night’s rest and head for the airport extra early.
And keep in mind: If you haven’t yet signed up for TSA PreCheck you may still have access to some form of expedited lanes screening if you are 75 or older, 12 years or younger, in the military or a disability or medical condition.
Thanksgiving is more about family (and eating) than showing off the latest fashions, so lighten up what you bring along and try traveling with just a carry-on.
Flying with food? Turkey (cooked or frozen) is permitted in carry-on and checked bags but check with your airline if brining a live turkey. Cakes, pies, bread, fruits and vegetables are also permitted in carry-ons, but gravy (a liquid) is not. TSA’s “Can I bring..?” tool can offer advice on other items you may want to bring along.
Flares aren’t necessary (or allowed) in your carry-on bag, but a kit with some emergency supplies in case of a delay are advised.
Bring snacks (good options include fresh or dried fruit, nuts, energy bars and sandwiches), a refillable water bottle, charged gadgets and rechargers, books and magazines, toys for your kids and a print-out of the reservation information and phone numbers for your airline, car rental company, hotel and the friends or family members who have volunteered to pick you up.
Stash some “mad money.” If a delay gets especially infuriating you can use that cash to buy you and your traveling companions a massage, a fancy cocktail, chocolate or some other frivolous, stress-busting treat.
Most people would rather get to their holiday destinations as soon as possible. But those who end up spending extra time waiting for their flights will find many airports offering holiday entertainment and many airport restaurants serving special Thanksgiving-themed dishes and full meals. And in dozens of airports there will be teams of therapy dogs and their trainers on duty to help calm jittery nerves.