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5 tips for hassle-free air travel this Christmas

The Christmas getaway can often be manic. There are just so many people taking advantage of the extended break to visit family and friends, or just go off in search of some winter sunshine, that the airports can get very busy.
Traditionally, the busiest days are just before Christmas and immediately afterwards, usually 27 and 28 December. To make travelling through the airport easier to deal with this Christmas, travellers need to accept that it is going to be busy, expect crowds and plan accordingly.
To help you be as organised as possible this Christmas check out the following tips, which should assist your preparation, save you time and reduce airport hassle:
1.Use online check-in
This is such a great invention, so if your airline permits it, check-in online and print off your own boarding passes. This saves you the hassle of queuing at the airport – you’ll just need to drop off your baggage when you arrive at the airport and go straight to security.
2.Arrive early
Accept that there is going to be a significant increase in passenger numbers and possibly long queues, so plan to arrive well in advance of your departure time allowing plenty of time to pass through security.
3.Getting to the airport
The number of people on the roads increases at this time of year, not all of them going to the airport, but it is going to be busy on the roads, so allow plenty of extra time for your journey.
If you are travelling by public transport check the Christmas and New Year timetables for your chosen method of transport. Most services operate a limited service over the seasonal period so check and book your tickets in advance to ensure your seat.
If you are driving, plan your route in advance – there are several online journey planners to choose from. Check for advanced notification of planned road works, which may affect your journey. Give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport allowing extra time for heavy traffic and possibly poor weather conditions.
4.Book your airport parking in advance
If you are driving to the airport, make sure you book your airport parking in advance. This not only saves you time and stress, it guarantees your space and can save you up to 60% on the gate fees.
5.Christmas presents
Make sure you are up-to-date on the hand and checked-in baggage rules so that you don’t waste time, or have expensive items confiscated, when you pass through security.
Don’t wrap any Christmas presents that you plan to carry in your hand luggage as these need to be available for security checks and may need to be unwrapped.
Remember liquids in hand luggage restrictions apply to presents carried in your hand luggage too, so pack any liquids of more than 100ml in your checked-in luggage.
If you are planning to carry Christmas crackers, check with your airline and airport first as many airports will not permit the carriage of crackers, and where permitted will only allow factory-produced crackers in sealed boxes to be carried in the hold only.
Don’t carry party poppers – these are explosive items and are banned from aircraft.
To avoid hassles at security, it is advisable to pack as much as possible in your checked-in baggage, and if you have any doubts over what you can and cannot carry check with your airline.

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