Tips for traveling this Thanksgiving holiday

By Sunni Blevins - bio | email

HENRICO, VA (NBC12) - Over the next few days, nearly 200 thousand Virginians will be hitting the skies to be with their loved ones for Thanksgiving.

The economy has pushed most major airlines to make some adjustments just in the past few months.

If you're a frequent flyer, then you've probably got a good handle on this already, but a lot of people who travel for the holidays aren't regular airline passengers.

Airport officials I spoke with today urge you to research all the new rules, and above anything else arrive early.

Marlene Brewer is heading to St. Louis for the holidays.

She, as recommended by airport staff, arrived two hours early to make sure she caught her plane.

Passengers who miss their flights this holiday could find themselves not only stranded, but also paying penalty fees for another flight if one's even available this time of year.

The busiest travel day will be Wednesday, but lines are already forming as some people like Marlene fly around the crowds.

To make her trip easier, Marlene checked her luggage and says the extra fees are worth it.

"It's easier," she said. "When you are old you don't want all of that stuff on the plane, just check it, and pick it up and there you are."

Paying to check baggage is a recent major change.

What you can bring with you on the plane is another.

Remember the 3-1-1 rule for carry-on liquids.

Three ounce or less bottles put in one clear plastic zip-top bag.

Only one bag per passenger.

Place the bag on it's own in a screening bin to speed things up.

Also allow plenty of time to park, check-in, and clear security.

Frequent flier and Disney World destined Larry Sambrook takes all those things into consideration.

"I get here early enough, I print my boarding passes before I leave home, so when I get here I already have them and I don't have to stand in line," he said.  I use curbside check-in so I don't have to mess with the bags, and I go straight to the gate."

Again airport officials can't stress enough the importance of doing your research before you ever get to the airport.

Especially don't forget there's extra fees now for checked baggage and missing your flight.

You can find any information you might need on the TSA's website.

(c) 2008. WWBT, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.