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AAA advises travelers to arrive at airports early amid government shutdown

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Wed, Jan 16th 2019 01:20 pm

Travelers should give themselves plenty of time to pass through security

By AAA of Western and Central New York

The government shutdown has left many travelers asking how it will impact their travel plans. According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the agency screens more than 2 million passengers every day at nearly 440 airports nationwide.

While January is typically a slower month for travel, AAA is advising travelers to treat this timeframe like peak holidays or summer tourism season. With Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, some travelers are taking off for long weekend getaways. TSA advises all travelers to arrive at airports two hours before scheduled departure times to give themselves plenty of time to pass through security. With winter weather in the forecast, local travelers should also check with their airline to be aware of any weather-related delays.

TSA reports screening 1.89 million passengers nationwide on Monday, Jan. 14. Overall, 99.1 percent of passengers waited less than 30 minutes; 94.3 percent of passengers less than 15 minutes. In TSA Pre✓ lanes, passengers, on average, waited less than 10 minutes. Yet travelers should still arrive early, especially for early morning flights at the start of the day when staffing is being adjusted and sickouts are possible.

AAA offers these travel tips:

  • Arrive early and be prepared for possible lines at all times and especially during early-morning hours.
  • Sign up for alerts from your airline and follow your airport’s website for the latest information.
  • Follow TSA regulations regarding liquids, electronics, belt, jacket, shoe removal and more to avoid creating unnecessary delays in security lines.
  • In the future, consider signing up for TSA Pre✓, which costs $85, as well as Global Entry, which costs $100 for a five-year membership. (There is a process to apply online and go to an appointment, so this won’t help if you are flying out today.)

Contact your travel consultant if you have further questions.

As upstate New York’s largest member services organization, AAA Western and Central New York provides more than 880,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, AAA has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Visit AAA at www.AAA.com.

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