Seats may be hard to find As reported in USA Today, there are almost 3,000 fewer domestic flights a day during this Thanksgiving season as compared to last year, promising fewer seats and higher prices. Continental Airlines reduced its domestic mainline hub departures in September, resulting in an 11 percent drop in available seat as compared to the same period last year. IAH available seat miles have been reduced 7.9 percent. “Currently, we are seeing about the same amount of people traveling during the holidays as we did last year,” said Mary Clark, manager of public relations for Continental Airlines. Many airlines are charging passengers extra for checked baggage, onboard food and beverages. Several carriers are charging as much as $7 for a pillow and blanket set. “Despite what the other airlines are doing, Continental is proud to continue to offer its customers meals, beverages, pillows and blankets free of charge,” Clark emphasized. Continental recently announced they will waive the fee for the first checked bag if the customer has a Continental Airlines Chase credit or debit card. Card holders do not have to purchase the airline ticket with the card to be eligible for the exemption. In an effort to fill planes to capacity, according to a number of airline fare Web sites, the airlines are currently having sales on many popular destinations. Seats are filling fast; if holiday travel plans are being considered, for either Thanksgiving or Christmas; do not wait until the last minute. Before you go to the airport: • Pack smart. • Pack only essentials (medications and copies of your passport/ID card) in your carry-on bags. • The three-ounce limit on liquids is still in effect. All must fit in a quart-size baggie, closed. • Three ounces of shampoo, conditioner, lotions, etc. will last a week. • Take only the clothes you will need. Forget the ‘what ifs.’ • Shoes are the heaviest and bulkiest. Wear what you need. • TSA requires removal of coats and shoes when going through the security checkpoint. Consider wearing shoes that can slip off easily. • Carry-on baggage size is limited to 45 linear inches (height + width + depth). If the bag does not fit in the overhead locker it will be checked. • Leave home early, especially if you are not an experienced traveler. • Check-in for your flight at least two hours ahead for domestic flights and three hours ahead for international flights. Lines will be long. • Have your government-issued identification and flight itinerary/boarding passes readily available at the ticket counter and for security checkpoints. • IAH terminal parking is a good bargain at $15 a day; it will fill fast. Consider the economy parking lots. • If you are picking up friends and family, save gas and use the free passenger pick up lots. At IAH follow the purple signs, park and wait for your party to call. • For a list of permitted and prohibited checked baggage, go to www.tsa.gov.

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