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Reagan National Braces for Extra Travelers During Thanksgiving Period

Reagan National Airport is preparing for one of the busiest travel periods of the year.

Between Friday, November 17, and Tuesday, November 28, more than 28.5 million passengers will travel on U.S. airlines for the Thanksgiving holiday, up 3 percent from 2016, according to industry estimates.

Trade association Airlines for America said it expects the busiest travel days to be Sunday, November 26 and Wednesday, November 22, while the lightest is expected to be Thanksgiving Day.

Anyone travelling to and from the region’s airports can expect more congestion on the roads and inside the terminals, according to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.

MWAA had the following tips for travelers, after the jump.

Plan before you go

  • Pack smart –– Know your airline’s checked bag policies and fees, remember not to pack laptops and other devices with lithium ion batteries in your checked bags, leave gifts unwrapped and pack liquids you plan to carry on with you according to the 3-1-1 rule.
  • Check with your airline –– Confirm your flight status and gate location before departing for the airport, and make sure you’re aware of airline policies regarding check-in times, boarding processes, fees and rebooking options.

Arrive your way

  • Consider your options –– Reagan National and Dulles International are both accessible via car, taxi, ride share services and public transit. Reagan National is accessed directly by Metrorail on the Blue and Yellow lines while Dulles International is connected to the Silver line via the Washington Flyer Silver Line Express Choose the most convenient or most economical option for you and your family.
  • Park with confidence –– Reagan National and Dulles International airports provide economy, daily and hourly parking options depending on the length of your travels. Keep in mind certain lots at Reagan National may fill up on peak travel days, so ensure you’re able to park by reserving a parking space in advance online.
  • Leave early –– Allow for extra time getting to and through the airport, as holiday travel can cause backups on roadways and longer passenger queues throughout the terminal. The Airports Authority recommends arriving at the airport at least two hours before domestic departures and three hours before international departures.

Minimize your wait

  • Prepare for new screening procedures –– The TSA is implementing new screening procedures in standard security lanes, which require passengers to remove electronic devices larger than a cell phone from carry-on baggage. The TSA also recommends placing food items in bins for easier screening. Pack your carry-ons accordingly by putting items like electronics, toiletries and food in easily accessible places.
  • Enroll in a trusted traveler program –– Trusted traveler programs like TSA PreCheck and Clear provide passengers an easy alternative to standard screening procedures and speed-up the security screening process. If travelling abroad, consider enrolling in Global Entry or using Mobile Passport to expedite Customs processing upon your return.

Enjoy your journey

  • Relax in our new restaurants –– A multi-year effort to transform the concessions offerings at Reagan National and Dulles International is almost complete. Check out locally inspired offerings like Ben’s Chili Bowl, The Burgundy & Gold Club and &pizza, along with national favorites like Chick-fil-A and Five Guys.
  • Shop for those last minute gifts –– Give the gift of travel this holiday season by sharing new experiences with family and friends to one of many new nonstop destinations, or pick up one of the many items featured in the #FlyWashington magazine gift guide.

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