Lambert-St. Louis International Airport is preparing for a busy holiday travel period surrounding the Christmas and New Year’s Day holidays. Passengers should expect an increase in passenger traffic of 15-20 percent at times in the next two weeks versus non-holiday travel periods.
The kickoff begins this week with the Airport expecting 19-20,000 departing passengers on December 20. Friday marks the annual Military Holiday Block Leave with more than 5,000 soldiers from Fort Leonard Wood being transported to Lambert for flights home and elsewhere. The TSA will plan on opening all checkpoints on this morning by 3 a.m. Any passenger flying out prior to 9 a.m. Friday should expect long lines and congestion in Lambert terminals and concourses.
The USO of Missouri is planning a series of events at both terminals for military personnel who will begin arriving as early as 1:30 a.m. Friday. Events include the annual appearance of Santa and Mrs.Clause, music, military giveaways and a live broadcast of 97.1 FM’s Allman in the Morning from 5 a.m. until 9 a.m. in Terminal 1.
U.S. Airlines are predicting a two percent increase in air travel over this winter holiday period with passenger loads on planes to be 80-90 percent full. Friday is expected to be the busiest air travel day across the U.S. prior to Christmas.
Passengers should arrive 90 minutes to two hours prior to their flights during holiday travel period. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is reminding passengers that they can help reduce wait times at security checkpoints with the following tips:
·3-1-1 for liquids: Liquids, gels, aerosols, creams and pastes must be 3.4 ounces (100 ml) or less. and all bottles must fit in 1 quart size plastic bag and placed in a bin for screening.
·Gifts: TSA recommends passengers wrap gifts after their flight or ship them ahead of time to avoid the possibility of having to open them during the screening process.
·Food: Food items such as pies and cakes are permitted, but may require further inspection
· Children 12 and under and adults 75 and older: TSA has modified the screening procedures for children 12 and under and adults 75 and older.
·Check for prohibited items: Travelers can use the “Can I bring my...” app on www.TSA.gov or www.TSA.gov/mobile to check what items are allowed/not allowed in carry-on and checked luggage. Smartphone users can easily download the “My TSA” app to quickly find helpful information about TSA policies and procedures.
·Prepare for security: Have a U.S. federal or state-issued photo ID and boarding pass out and remove liquids and large electronics, including laptops, from carry-on baggage. Remember to remove shoes, outerwear, and bulky jewelry and empty pockets. Place valuable items in a carry-on bag.
·TSA’s Wounded Warrior Screening program: This program allows expedited screening and curb to gate service for this trusted group of citizens. Wounded warriors or their care coordinators can contact TSA Cares toll free at 1-855-787-2227 with details of the itinerary once flight arrangements are made with the airline.
·More Travel Tips: Check out TSA’s helpful Traveler Information site for more useful information to help ease the traveling public through security checkpoints. Additional holiday travel tips are available: http://blog.tsa.gov/2013/11/tsa-2013-holiday-travel-tips.html
Picking Up Passengers: Use Free Cell Phone Lots
The impact of this busy travel season also applies to those picking up passengers at Lambert. The Airport recommends motorists use one of two cell phone lots to wait for passengers to arrive. These free waiting zones are conveniently located within a few minutes from Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 and feature display boards to help check the status of incoming flights. Motorists should contact arriving passengers via a mobile phone before leaving the Cell Phone Lot to confirm they are ready for immediate pickup at the terminals. Passenger pick up zones at each terminal are for active loading only; no waiting is allowed. For cell phone locations and more information, click here.
Avoid parking fees the next time you pick up a passenger. Lambert provides free waiting zones for motorists near each terminal.