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20 December 2013

Holiday air travel advice 2013

Once again, tens of millions of people, including many infrequent and first time flyers, are heading home for the holidays, and with some prior planning and a little bit of luck, most passengers should not have any serious travel issues. has a variety of resources, including online resources and downloadable ebooks that will help you work through many of the most common issues: web site resources

Downloadable ebooks

Traveling with gifts
If you carry gifts, either in checked or carry-on baggage, remember that the TSA has to be able to inspect any package and may have to unwrap your gift to do so. You can partially unwrap them for easier access, ship wrapped gifts ahead of time, or wait until you arrive at your destination to wrap them.

Flying with holiday food
You should be aware that some food items are banned from carry on baggage because they contain liquids or gels. While you can carry cakes, pastries, and pies with you in your carry on bag, but the following should either be in checked baggage or left at home:

  • Cranberry sauce
  • Creamy dips and spreads (cheeses, peanut butter, etc.)
  • Gravy
  • Jams, jellies, and syrup
  • Oils and vinegars
  • Salad dressing
  • Salsa
  • Sauces
  • Soups
  • Wine, liquor and beer
  • Gift baskets with one or more of the above items

New and surprising for 2013
There are several new trends and rules to look out for this year, some of them are pleasant surprises, and some of them no so pleasant:

  • Mobile device rule changes: In October, the FAA lifted many of the restrictions on the use of personal electronic devices in flight, and many airlines now allow you to use mobile devices and tablets during all phases of the flight. However, phone calls are still not allowed, and most airlines don't provide inflight Internet access.
  • Increasing restrictions on unaccompanied children: More airlines are increasing the costs, and increasing the fees, for travel by unaccompanied children. Typically, airlines allow children 12 and over to travel alone, but require that children between five and 11 who travel alone do so under their unaccompanied child program. However, many airlines restrict unaccompanied children to nonstop flights (including United as of earlier this month), and may charge up to $300 extra for a round trip flight.
  • Some passengers can keep their shoes on:Since the last holiday travel season, TSA has relaxed their rules on removing shoes at checkpoints. Children 12 and younger, adults 75 and older, and members of the military no longer have to routinely remove their shoes during TSA screening.

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