BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Nearly 47 million Americans are expected to travel 50 miles or more from home, according to AAA, and Wednesday is expected to be one of the busiest travel days of the year.
TSA officials at Buffalo Niagara International Airport say they’re expecting about 10 percent more people to come through security Wednesday than they usually see. They expect 15 percent more on Sunday and Monday after Thanksgiving.
And, with TSA workers doing stricter screenings in light of the worldwide travel alert issued by the State Department earlier this week, officials say there are steps travelers can take to make security screenings go more smoothly. They offer the following tips:
· Know what is in your bag. Passengers who bring prohibited items to the checkpoint slow the screening process for themselves and everyone behind them.
· Prepare liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes to be sure they are packed in compliance with the TSA regulations
· Remove all items from pockets and put the items into a carry-on bag or into a bin when you get to the checkpoint. The screening experience will go even faster if travelers remove everything from their pockets before they get to the checkpoint.
· Avoid wearing large metal jewelry or clothing with large metal embellishments to reduce the possibility of alarming the checkpoint screening machine.
· Arrive early to the airport to allow enough time to park, get your boarding pass, check your luggage and go through the checkpoint. TSA recommends arriving at the airport at least two hours before a flight if travelers are not yet enrolled in TSA Pre✓®.
· Listen to the instructions that the TSA officers are providing at the checkpoint. This helps the process move along efficiently.
· Travelers may bring wrapped gifts in their luggage; however, if a wrapped gift alarms, appears to have been tampered with, or poses other security concerns it may need to be unwrapped for additional screening. Consider using a gift bag instead of traditional wrapping paper to simplify the screening process of gifts.
· Food items such as pies and cakes are permitted but may require further inspection.
· Travelers who have medical conditions or disabilities and want to get a better understanding of how best to prepare for the checkpoint process can call the TSA Cares toll-free helpline in advance of their trip at 1-855-787-2227 to get questions answered about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at the checkpoint.
AAA reps say air travel is expected to be about on par with Thanksgiving last year, but they say about 300,000 more Americans are expected to travel by car, thanks, in part, to lower gas prices.
The biggest advice for everyone who is heading out of town from AAA experts is to give yourself plenty of time to get where you are going, and be prepared before you head out.
“We got a little bit of a taste of winter this week so you want to make sure you’re always prepared for winter. It never hurts to have your tires checked and your battery checked before you head out on the road, you know, before winter comes. Those are the number one calls we get at AAA,” explained Elizabeth Carey, public affairs manager for AAA of Western and Central New York.
Carey also says AAA insurance gets a lot of calls on the day after Thanksgiving, because Thanksgiving is the biggest day of the year for house fires. Most of those fires are caused by cooking, so make sure you’re very careful in the kitchen, and if you’re going to deep fry your turkey, do that outside.