Richmond International Airport Holiday Travel Tips

November 16, 2011

RICHMOND, Virginia (November 16, 2011) - With Thanksgiving signaling the start of the busy holiday travel season, Richmond International Airport (RIC) reminds travelers to plan ahead and allow extra time to ensure a more enjoyable holiday travel experience. We recommend following these simple travel tips 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. At the checkpoint travelers will be asked to remove the zip-top bag of liquids and place it in a bin or on the conveyor belt. X-raying separately will allow TSA security officers to more easily examine the declared items. Exceptions are made for medications, baby food and breast milk.

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). 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. Most airlines provide sizing templates at their ticket counters so passengers may verify that carry-on luggage meet sizing requirements.

Gifts and snow globes. Remember not to wrap gifts before you travel. TSA security officers may have to un-wrap a gift if they need to take a closer look inside. This applies to both carry-ons at the security checkpoint and to checked baggage. Please ship wrapped gifts ahead of time or wait until you arrive at your destination to wrap them. Additionally, TSA does not permit snow globes through the security checkpoint because they contain an undetermined amount of liquid. Snow globes are permitted in checked baggage.

Traveling with food. Everyone has favorite foods from home that they want to bring to holiday dinners, or items from their destination that they want to bring back home. Not sure about what you can and can't bring through the checkpoint? TSA provides a list of liquid, aerosol and gel items that you should put in your checked bag, ship ahead, or leave at home if they are above the permitted 3.4 oz.

Go online. With many airlines you can print boarding passes on their website to skip long waits at the airport. Some airlines also offer text, email or phone notifications regarding your flight so you stay updated on your flight's status.

Remember your ID. Passengers traveling domestically - age 18 and older - are advised to carry a government-issued form of identification at all times. The TSA website contains a full list of ID requirements for airport checkpoints.

Schedule enough wait time. During the busy holiday travel season, RIC recommends all passengers arrive at the airport a minimum of two hours prior to departure, especially on peak travel days, including weekends.

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 metal detector. Wear shoes that are easy to slip off and on. And if your travels include someplace cold, try to wear one jacket you can remove easily.

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.

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 coat 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 Security checkpoint hours of operation. The normal scheduled hours for security screening checkpoints at RIC is from 4:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. daily. Under some circumstances, screening activities may be briefly extended, but departing passengers are advised to expect normal scheduled hours unless an extension is expressly confirmed by the passenger's airline or an authorized TSA representative at RIC. Once screening activities have concluded for the evening, they will not resume until the following morning at 4:30 a.m.

For additional travel tips, visit TSA's website,