BOSTON (CBS) — Having traveled across the country by air for the Thanksgiving holiday, I have good news and bad news for people flying over Christmas.
The good news is that the holiday season will be longer this year and spread out with Christmas and New Year’s falling on a Wednesday. The rush at New England airports will begin on December 20. The bad news is that planes will be 95-percent full on the peak days.
On a Thanksgiving week flight on Delta Airlines from Boston to Salt Lake City and on to Eugene, Oregon, I had the middle seat going both ways on the long leg of the flight.
Here are some tips from the recent trip: Book your seat assignments on the computer as far ahead as possible.
A Massport advisory told travelers to get to Logan two-and-half hours early for a domestic flight while Delta said you should allow one hour and a quarter.
Be aware that flights start to board about 30 minutes prior to departure time. Wear the lightest possible coat that you will need while you are away. Bring snacks, water and a tablet or laptop for entertainment on a long flight.
The legacy carriers like Delta have not caught up with jetBlue for seat back TV.
Keep in mind that The Callahan Tunnel will be closing for about three months just after Christmas. Figure extra time getting home from the airport. There is always the possibility of snow. And the first thing that happens is that airlines cancel flights to avoid having their planes grounded.
Less crowded airports like Manchester, Providence or Worcester may be an alternative.
If you are driving to the airport for an early morning flight, you might want to consider staying at a hotel or motel near the airport. They usually offer free parking for up to two weeks and a free shuttle bus to the airport.
One perk for leisure travelers, that I received, is to be selected at random for the TSA Pre-Check line. You get through security in a tenth of the time and don’t have to take off your shoes. Fewer business travelers at this time of the year make this happy event a possibility.
If you are considering new luggage for yourself, or as a gift, the latest thing is the four wheel spinner roller bag. It is much easier to use in getting to the gate. I have one.
More than anything else, have patience. Chances are your flight will not leave without you.
All Things Travel Reports with Bob Weiss can be heard on WBZ NewsRadio 1030.