Holiday Travel
5:53 pm
Thu November 15, 2012

Tips And Reminders For Thanksgiving Air Travelers

Officials at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport and the Transportation Security Administration are preparing for a boost in travelers over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Between Friday, Nov. 16, and Sunday, Nov. 25, the airport is expected to see a 10 to 15 percent increase in passengers.

To reduce wait time at checkpoints, the TSA has introduced a pre-check screening program for frequent flyers and pre-approved trusted travelers. At Lambert Airport, the program is available for passengers of American Airlines, US Air and certain members of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Trusted Traveler group.

Passengers under 12 and over 75 are also now allowed to keep their shoes on in check points to expedite the process.

Carrie Harmon is a regional public affairs manager with TSA. She says presents often slow down the screening process during the holidays.

“Wrapped packages – they’re not prohibited – but if they alarm, we have to unwrap them; and that doesn’t make anyone happy,” Harmon said. “So you can ship them ahead of time or put them in your checked baggage.”

Harmon suggests travelers visit the agency’s website for a list of prohibited items, holiday travel tips and a special search box called “When I fly, can I bring my…?” where travelers can look up specific items.

Lambert Airport Director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge says those traveling with large families, young children and the elderly should arrive at the airport about two hours before their flight to ensure enough time at security check points.

She also says families and friends of flyers can help speed up airport traffic by using cell phone lots where they can wait for travelers without entering the airport or using up parking intended for overnight visitors.

“We encourage people to look at the cell phone lots if you’re picking up,” Hamm-Niebruegge said. “They’re free, they’re bright, they’re lit, they’re policed, they’re very secure.”

At Lambert, there are free cell phone lots in each of its two terminals that hold 60 to 70 vehicles each.

Follow Tina Eaton on Twitter: @kristinaeaton