Airport officials project ‘pre-pandemic’ travel season for the holidays

Salt Lake City Airport - Getty Images

A Delta Airlines Boeing 737 (front) passes another Delta Airlines Boeing 777 (back) on the tarmac at Salt Lake City International Airport, September 16, 2020. (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP) (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Officials at the Salt Lake International Airport are projecting pre-pandemic levels of travel this holiday season with the early Thanksgiving travel rush beginning early next week.

Suitcases on wheels, friends, and family rushing through the airport, and of course, getting through the TSA line to make your flight on time is what one can expect while traveling in during the holiday season.

With the holidays near, officials at the Airport want to make sure you get to your destination but there are a few things to keep in mind.

“They just want to make sure they give themselves enough time to get through all the lines checking through security and out to the gates,” said TSA Federal Security Director for Utah Matt Davis.

Anyone who’s been through a TSA checkpoint knows how long lines can get. Even with the latest boarding and automated screening process, the airport says knowing the items prohibited in your carry-on luggage is key in helping to cut down on long lines and wait times.

Davis says “If you end up in a lane where a lot of people have things that need to be searched and not removing things from their bag as they should be, it’s going to slow down the process.”

The airport says things such as weapons, or liquids weighing more than 3.4 ounces should go in checked luggage. They also say don’t overstuff your carry-on as it could lead to a possible bag check.

“We call it decluttering your bag, if you have computer cords and wires make sure you wrap those up and group them nicely so our officers can decipher it on the Xray screens,” Davis tells ABC4

One woman we spoke to is an avid flyer, but the pandemic put a slight halt in her travels.

“We’re getting back to flying, but yeah we took about a year off,” Jessica Watts says.

After a year off from flying, Watts says her experience going through the TSA checkpoints has been positive “I feel like it’s been a little bit busier than normal but I feel like they’re doing a good job of keeping people moving through quickly,” she said.

For those who may be looking to travel during Christmas, keep in mind if you have gifts for loved ones, consider traveling with unwrapped items.

“Try and use gift bags,” Davis says as a way to help alleviate long TSA wait times. “That is probably the best thing we can recommend because it allows us to search it and not cut the wrapping paper open.”

Officials say it’s also important to keep in mind covid-19 protocols are still in place so make sure to have your mask handy.

You can find a list of answers to most last-minute travel questions by downloading the my TSA app or by following TSA on social media.

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