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How to Make Your Holiday Air Travel More Bearable

There’s not much that any traveler can do about the crowds and long lines at airports during the holiday season. But there are ways to cope.


Stay current on flight and airport status.

  Track the flight status through the airline’s app, and monitor the airport’s Twitter feed.


Sign up for TSA PreCheck.

  Frequent travelers are nearly unanimous in their recommendations of this program, which gives expedited passage through security to travelers who have undergone background screening.
There’s still time to sign up before this holiday season if you move quickly: The agency says there is about a two-week wait for appointments, and turnaround is about a week more if your background check is clear.


Fly on the least busy days and times.

  Thanksgiving and Christmas Day tend to have lighter traffic than other times during the holidays, said Patrick Surry, chief data scientist at Hopper, an air travel app.

An analysis by Hopper of Thanksgiving week travel patterns finds that, as a general rule, traffic at airports in Western states peaks early in the morning, as travelers try to bridge the time zone difference. Hubs like Chicago and Atlanta also tend to have busy mornings, while big international jumping-off points on the East Coast have an evening “rush hour” as travelers begin overnight journeys.

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