In the months of November and December alone, more than eight million passengers are expected to pass through the gates at George Bush Intercontinental Airport and William P. Hobby Airport.  Because of this heavy holiday traffic, customers are encouraged to maintain close contact with their chosen airline in order to ensure they’ve received the latest flight information available. Passengers are also encouraged to arrive at the airport at least two hours prior to their departure time, so that possible congestion along the roadways or inside the terminal facilities does not result in a missed flight. Here are a few additional tips that may save you time:   Use technology – The web is an excellent resource in obtaining the latest flight information and overall travel trends. You can check in for your flight 24 hours prior to departure and many airlines allow you to check in by using a digital bar code on the screen of your smartphone.  Prepare for security line – there are several steps you can take to minimize the amount of time needed to pass through the security line, including: having your boarding pass ready for display, removing your shoes, follow the 3-1-1 rule in regards to liquids in your carryon bag (fliers are limited to three ounce or smaller containers of liquids or gels, that can fit in a one-quart-size clear plastic zip-top bag; one bag per passenger).  Remove any metallic items that may set off the metal detector (keys, loose change, heavy jewelry, etc.). Don’t wrap any gifts prior to your departure, as security personnel may need to examine the contents of any package.  If picking up an arriving passenger, make sure to use the “passenger waiting lots” located at both George Bush Intercontinental Airport and William P. Hobby Airport. Drivers can park free of charge while waiting for their passenger to arrive, rather than needlessly circling the outer ring road areas. Passenger totals during the 2011 holiday season aren’t expected to surpass the previous year’s totals, but traffic is expected to heavy during peak periods. Last year, George Bush Intercontinental Airport handled 1,361,550 passengers during a 13-day period from Nov. 17 – 29.  This year’s total is expected to be very near that mark with 1,331,966 passengers projected to pass through the gates. The heaviest travel days will likely be the Thursday, Friday and Sunday (Nov. 17, 18 & 20), during the week prior to Thanksgiving and the Sunday immediately following the Thanksgiving Day holiday (Nov. 27).  If you’d like more information on what is and what is not allowed through the security checkpoint, you can view the Website for the Transportation Security Administration at http://www.tsa.gov/. Photo: Preparation is the key to a smooth holiday trip through the airport.

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