Avoid the naughty list: Practice airport patience - Albuquerque Journal

Avoid the naughty list: Practice airport patience

Rob Lasater sports a Santa hat while picking up his daughter, Alisa Lasater-Wailoo, who flew into Albuquerque from Philadelphia on Monday. Ahead of an expected surge in holiday travel, Sunport and TSA leaders are urging air travelers to be prepared and patient. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

Flying out of the Albuquerque International Sunport this week?

Fine, but don’t do it by the seat of your pants.

Sunport and Transportation Security Administration leaders expect the busiest travel days in the coming weeks to be Thursday – the day before Christmas Eve – as well as Dec. 27 and Jan. 3, according to a release.

This year, the agencies are urging travelers to be prepared – and patient.

“We know everyone is eager to safely reunite with friends and family this holiday season, making it even more important to plan ahead,” said Richard McCurley, the city’s interim director of aviation, according to the release. “To ensure a safe holiday traveling experience for all passengers, we recommend arriving at the airport early, checking the flight status frequently, making sure what you pack is TSA-approved and of course, wearing a mask.”

Passengers make their way past a Christmas tree and a menorah at the Albuquerque International Sunport on Monday. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

Travel tips from the Sunport and TSA include:

Prepare to be patient: Expect longer-than-normal wait times and don’t be surprised if some shops, restaurants or amenities are not available.

Get there early: Officials encourage holiday travelers to get to the Sunport at least two hours before departure time.

Know your parking options: The Sunport has three on-site parking options: a four-level parking garage and two economy lots, all accessible from the lower level. A number of privately run off-site lots offer paid parking with free shuttle service.

Keep an eye on the flights: Check directly with your airline for up-to-date flight information.

Research what you can carry: Tsa.gov and @AskTSA on Twitter both provide information about what’s allowed in carry-on bags and checked baggage. Passengers are allowed one carry-on bag and one personal item (think: purse, backpack or diaper bag) when passing through the security checkpoint.

Follow the 3-1-1 rule: Any liquids must be 3 ounces or less and fit comfortably in a one-quart size zip-top bag. Each passenger is allowed one such bag.

Remember your wallet: A valid New Mexico driver’s license is acceptable for security screening and to board your plane.

Mask up: Wear a face mask at all times within the airport and on the airplane.

Don’t let your guard DOWN: As if anyone could forget, yes, the pandemic is still going. For COVID-19 information, visit tsa.gov/coronavirus or abqsunport.com/covid-19.

This year’s passenger volume is expected to far surpass last year’s during the first COVID-19 Christmas. According to Sunport spokeswoman Stephanie Kitts, 208,900 people traveled through the airport between Dec. 22 through Jan. 3 back in 2019. In 2020, that same period saw just 73,900 passengers.

This year, Kitts said the Sunport is projecting about 172,600 passengers between Thursday and Jan. 3.

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