Holiday Travel Tips from Richmond International Airport

December 17, 2014

RICHMOND, Virginia (December 17, 2014) - Every holiday season, Richmond International Airport (RIC) prepares to ensure we provide a smooth travel experience for all our customers. With the holiday travel season in full swing, RIC recommends passengers follow these travel guidelines for a safe and stress-free travel experience. 

  • Know what 3-1-1 means. When packing your bags, keep in mind TSA's 3-1-1 security measures regarding liquids and gels. Travelers may carry through security checkpoints travel-size toiletries (3 ounces or less) that fit comfortably in one quart size clear plastic zip-top bag. Exceptions: Medications, baby formula and food, and breast milk are allowed in reasonable quantities exceeding three ounces and are not required to be in the zip-top bag. Declare these items for inspection at the checkpoint.
  • Pack smart. When packing your carry-on luggage, consider essentials first. For most travelers, essentials include items they can't live without, such as a purse or wallet, travel documents, medications, laptops, cameras, essential toiletries/makeup, a change of clothes, and any other small electronic device (phone, iPod, e-reader, etc). Don’t overstuff your carry-on or checked baggage. If your bag is opened for inspection, it may be difficult to repack the same way or to close. These measures will speed up the process for you and everyone in line behind you. Please keep in mind TSA's rules for permitted and prohibited items when packing your luggage. 
  • Limit your carry-on baggage. Airlines have been enforcing tighter restrictions on the amount of baggage you can carry on the plane. Generally, one bag that fits under the seat or in the overhead bin and one personal item, such as a purse or briefcase, is allowed. 
  • Dress for success. Before you head to the airport, empty your pockets of loose change, wear minimal jewelry, and avoid wearing a belt so you have fewer items to remove for the security screening process. Avoid wearing clothing with metal and stow all metal items in your carry-on luggage. Passengers are required to remove footwear for X-ray screening. Wearing footwear that can be easily removed helps speed you through screening.
  • Keep electronics accessible. All electronic items, such as laptops and cell phones, may be subject to additional screening. You will need to remove your laptop from its travel case so that both may be X-rayed separately. You may want to label your laptop to avoid mix-ups when several laptops that look alike move through X-ray machines in succession.
  • Handle prohibited items properly. Remember that firearms, ammunition and knives are prohibited at the TSA checkpoint. Pocket knives, self-defense sprays and other potential weapons are also prohibited. The TSA website has a complete list of prohibited items.
  • Food items. Food items such as pies and cakes are permitted through security checkpoints, but may require further inspection. If travelers are not sure if a food item is considered a liquid or gel it is best to pack the item in checked baggage or ship it to a destination in advance.
  • Gifts. TSA recommends that passengers do not travel with wrapped packages. In order to determine if the contents of a package are a threat, a security officer may need to unwrap and inspect the item.
  • Remember your ID. Adult passengers (18 and over) are required to show a U.S. federal or state-issued photo ID in order to be allowed to go through the checkpoint and onto their flight.
  • TSA Pre✓™ expedited screening. This program, recently implemented at RIC, prescreens individuals who volunteer information about themselves prior to flying in order to potentially expedite the screening experience. At the checkpoint, participants may receive screening benefits including leaving on shoes, light jackets and belts. For more information, visit TSA's website
  • Screening procedures for passengers 12 and under. TSA has implemented new procedures that reduce, though not eliminate, pat-downs of passengers 12 and under that would otherwise have been conducted to resolve alarms while also ensuring effective security measures. Passengers 12 and under are also able to leave their shoes on through security checkpoints.
  • Screening procedures for passengers 75 and older. TSA has implemented modified screening procedures for passengers 75 and older. Changes are similar to screening procedures for passengers 12 and under and improve screening by better focusing resources on passengers who may be more likely to pose a risk. 
  • Schedule enough processing time. During the busy holiday travel season, RIC recommends all passengers arrive in the terminal approximately one and a half to two hours prior to departure. Keep in mind that most airlines have a bag check-in cutoff of 30-45 minutes prior to departure. With enhanced security checkpoint procedures and other screening measures in place, passengers should allow adequate time for security checks.
  • Be flexible. Not all trips through the security checkpoint will be exactly the same because of TSA’s layered screening approach. It includes an element of unpredictability that is easy for passengers to navigate but difficult for terrorists to manipulate. Remember, security activities are designed to protect you, your family and loved ones, and are not meant to be inconvenient.
  • Use line time efficiently. Most likely, no matter when you get to the airport you will have to stand in a security line for some time. While you're waiting, take off your jacket and watch, put your phone and loose change in your carry-on, and have your 3-1-1 bag out and ready. This way when you reach the front of the line you can quickly put your items in the bin.
  • Be polite. Agitated or argumentative passengers are more likely to seem suspicious and may require more screening.

RIC amenities: Customers at Richmond International Airport enjoy a state of the art, two-level terminal featuring upper level departures and lower level arrivals areas, spacious ticketing and baggage claim halls, a variety of restaurants and retail stores, and widened and improved security checkpoint portals. Business travelers enjoy the comfort and convenience of RIC’s Business Center, featuring meeting space, conference rooms and communication services. Other airport amenities include free airport-wide WiFi service, an Inter-Faith Chapel, full service banking offering foreign currency exchange and ATM facilities, free shuttle service between the terminal and economy parking lots, curbside taxi service, USO Center for active duty and retired military personnel, and a Visitor Information Center offering Richmond and regional information.