Thanksgiving (Travel) Is Back!

Well, it’s back. Thanksgiving traffic. Last night, I spent about 30 minutes in triple-parked traffic at the arrivals area at Boston’s Logan Airport, and it served as a reminder of what is to come. This year is going to be one of the busiest travel periods in Thanksgiving history and the northeast is awash in weather, so I’ve pulled some hints to help you be prepared.

I don’t have to tell anyone here that Thanksgiving is among the worst times for air travel. Flights are packed, cost a fortune and lines are interminable. Here are a few hints that might help to speed you on your way:

  • Do Anything You Can At Home: The less you have to do at the airport, the better. This means printing your boarding passes at home (or checking in by mobile) and deciding what you are going to do with your luggage. If you are checking bags, have everything tagged and ready to go for your airline’s designated “baggage drop” area. If you have Pre-Check, make sure your boarding pass indicates as such.


  • Have Your Kids Prepared: Traveling with little people? Assume that you will have delays and pack snacks appropriately. Here’s how to determine what you need for snacks: Determine the amount of snacks that you think you will need for the entire flight. Then double it. Then triple it. Then double it again. That amount will last you about an hour. And make sure that the iPads are charged to 100%. No guarantee of power ports on the plane. Don’t forget the books. Etc.


  • Know Your Airport: Remember, you don’t have to sit right next to your gate. Get to your airport early. If you have lounge access, take advantage of it. Secluded area? Good, sit and enjoy lunch.


  • Know Flight Alternatives: Chances are, every flight is packed but, just in case, know a few alternatives to your destination in case your flight is cancelled. Also, check with your credit card company to find out what kind of travel insurance you have. Last-minute tickets cost a fortune.


  • And Finally (And Probably Most Important): Don’t be “that guy.”  Something will go wrong and it’s likely not the fault of the gate agent or, for that matter, anyone else at the airport. This is definitely a situation where honey>vinegar when it comes to catching flies. As the person in my family most likely to turn into “that guy” when I get frustrated, I read this point a couple of times.


Good luck out there! Go in prepared and expecting the worst and you’ll have a great trip.


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