We’re heading into the busiest travel weekend at the airports this weekend.
The TSA projects a record 41-million flyers will pass through security checkpoints this holiday travel period starting December 19 and continuing through January 5.
An airport spokesman tells Local 4 News, Saturday is the highest passenger day.
Traffic was light at the airport today, and travelers say that’s okay with them.
Annie Erickson from Bettendorf is heading to California.
“This is wonderful. This has never happened before. We either missed our flight, or we are way too early! This is a great start to the vacation.”
The Logue Family arrived in the Quad Cities from their home in Boston.
“It was very busy at Logan, and of course O’Hare was busy, but everything went smoothly. We got here a little early.”
Sarai Logue grew up here and says arriving early means more time with grandma in Iowa.
“This is the first Christmas since we’ve had children that we’ve made it back. We’ve spent Christmas in Boston away from family, so this is the first year we get to come back and actually be here for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and get to share that with the kids which is really exciting.”
Passenger traffic is expected to increase again the three days after Christmas – peaking on Thursday the 27th.
Here are some travel tips, supplied by the QCIA.
Hold the gift wrap.
It’s best to hold off wrapping your sack of presents until you reach your destination. Certain holiday gifts, including larger electronics, may require additional inspection. You can also place items into a gift bag to facilitate any additional screening that may be required.
Wear your golden rings.
You’re allowed to wear jewelry through the security checkpoint, but you can also place it in your carry-on and checked baggage. If you plan to stuff a special stocking with something shiny, such as an engagement ring, you can ask for a private screening if an additional inspection is necessary. Learn more in our blog post on traveling with jewelry.
Bring on those holiday leftovers.
Your favorite holiday treats can travel with you! Solid foods, such as baked goods, meats, and fresh fruits and vegetables, are good to go in your carry-on bag. Liquid, creamy and spreadable foods, like your delicious spinach dip, must follow the 3-1-1 liquids rule. Planning to travel with an entire feast? Larger amounts can be packed in your checked bags.
Ask your airline about flying animals.
We’ve been told some folks simply can’t fly without their reindeer. But ask your airline if you plan to travel with an animal, magical or not, as restrictions may apply.
Deck the halls with holiday cheer.
Make your season merry and bright with festive decor. Strings of holiday lights, wreaths, mistletoe, and even small trees are allowed in carry-on and checked bags. However, we recommend contacting your airline about traveling with trees as they may have size restrictions. Fragile ornaments and other holiday keepsakes travel better in your carry-on luggage.
If you’re still unsure about how to pack that gift, send us a message (or even a picture) on Twitter at @AskTSA or via Facebook Messenger. They’re available to answer your questions weekdays from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET and weekends/holidays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. And yes, that includes Christmas and New Year’s Day!