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Top 10 Tips for Thanksgiving Air Travel

Charting a (safe) course through holiday hell 

Murphy's Law stalks holiday travelers like a blood Ticket Outta HereTicket Outta Herethirsty hunter. But there are ways to find your comfort zone while enroute - and you don't need a secret decoder ring either.

Check out these top 10 tips for logging peaceful air miles this season.

  • Don't confuse the plane with Santa's sleigh: Be ruthless and take only what you need. Thanksgiving is for being with those we love, not schlepping gifts back and forth.
  • Check the security rules - twice: If you're unsure about what's allowed and what's not, visit the Transportation Security Administration online. And remember gift items, such as jams, are considered liquids and a no-no in your carry-on.
  • Spread cheer, not germs: If you're sick, reconsider your travel plans. If you must travel, use sanitizer and bring a face mask (if you have a cough).
  • Check your reservation early: Don't wait until the day before you leave to check your reservation online. A change in planes or a last minute partnering with a different carrier can land you seat in front of the bulkhead - or worse, beside the bathroom.
  • Forget last-minute flights: If you haven't already booked your flight, you may have to settle for traveling on or just after Thanksgiving.
  • Don't forget the extras: Check to see what types of flight entertainment and power ports are available on your plane. You might want to download your favorites before leaving home to prevent boredom.
  • Arrive early: Count on long lines. We recmmend arriving at least a full hour earlier than you normally would. If your plans are flexible, add your name to the "volunteer" list and take a later flight, which usually earns you a free flight at another time.
  • Play fair: Don't hop on a courtesy cart unless you need to, line up before your seat is called or talk on your cell phone when the plane is taxiing. Everyone's nerves are jangled and a little good will goes a long way.
  • Be nice to airline employees: Be friendly but firm if your needs aren't being met. We recommend keeping the airline's customer service phone number on speed-dial.
  • Practice patience: Expect delays, long line ups and cranky people and remember that no one wants to spend Thanksgiving stuck in the airport. The airlines want you to arrive safely, even though it may not always feel like it, so do your best to help them help you.

Got Thanksgiving travel plans? We'd love hear what you love about them! Connect with us on Twitter and Facebook – and let's continue the conversation!

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