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Holiday travel season kicks-off at TPA, traffic up from 2016

(November 16, 2017) Holiday travel season is upon us and it’s going to be another busy year for Tampa International Airport. TPA is anticipating nearly 300,000 enplaned passengers over the Thanksgiving travel period, Nov. 18 through Nov. 27. Here are some handy tips to make your holiday visit to TPA smooth and hassle-free. Holiday travel

New this year: TSA has implemented new screening procedures. All electronics larger than a cell phone must be removed from carry-on bags and placed in a separate bin at the screening checkpoint, similar to how laptops have been screened for several years. Pack these items on top for easy removal.

The new procedure does not apply to TSA PreCheck travelers, who do not have to remove shoes or belts, and can keep laptops and 3-1-1 bags in their carry-on.

Not sure what’s allowed? TSA also has a handy mobile app, My TSA, which provides on-the-go information on security wait times and the popular “Can I bring?” database. Check out TSA.gov for other important info on screening and restricted items.

Arrive early. Nothing can stress you out over the holidays like running late, so allow at least 90 minutes for parking, check-in and screening. Early mornings and weekends are especially busy, so arrive two hours early to be safe.

Plan your Airport visit ahead of time. Select your airport parking option before coming out to the Airport. If you’re picking up arriving passengers, review the latest pick-up tips.

Wrap on arrival. TSA recommends that you wrap on arrival to avoid delays at screening.  If an item cannot be cleared through screening and needs to be further evaluated, unwrapping can cause delays.

Baggage allowances: Baggage allowance, size and weight of accepted bags, and fees vary between air carriers.  Check with your airline for a complete list of baggage restrictions before packing.

Check your pockets. If you’re grabbing a bag, suitcase, briefcase, jacket and other items you haven’t used in a while, be sure to give them the onceover so you don’t accidentally take something prohibited through the checkpoint.

Safety first! Traveling can be stressful, especially during the holiday period.  By staying aware of your surroundings and keeping a close eye on your property, you can significantly reduce your chances of becoming a victim of theft. 

  • Take a photo of the location of your vehicle to make it easier to find when you return.
  • Secure your vehicle and do not leave valuable items in plain sight.  Lock them in the trunk, if possible.
  • Never place valuable or irreplaceable items inside checked luggage. 
  • Always keep an eye on your belongings and never leave them unattended. 
  • In addition to outside luggage tags, keep information and a copy of your itinerary inside the luggage.
  • Make photocopies of important documents such as passport, credit cards and driver’s license, front and back.  Carry one copy with you and leave the other at home. 
  • Report any suspicious activity to the Tampa Airport Police Department.   Remember: if you see something, say something.

On behalf of everyone at Tampa International Airport, we wish you and your family a safe and happy holiday season.