By ALLIE LEWIS Unlike last year, which forced most families to stay home and forgo their usual holiday celebrations, millions of Americans are expected to travel this Thanksgiving. For many, this may very well be the first time they've boarded a plane in
Unlike last year, which forced most families to stay home and forgo their usual holiday celebrations, millions of Americans are expected to travel this Thanksgiving.
For many, this may very well be the first time they’ve boarded a plane in over a year, and the lines may be a bit longer than they remember, according to John Goodman of the Rhode Island Airport Corporation.
Outside of the busy holiday season, checking in and getting through security at Rhode Island T.F. Green International Airport is relatively quick and easy – making it a popular choice among locals. If you’re traveling out of Warwick next week, however, Goodman cautions Rhode Islanders to expect a longer wait than usual.
“My mantra on holiday travel is going to be a reminder to pack your patience during travel,” Goodman said. For those flying this holiday season, he urges passengers to know “that all airport and airline personnel are all committed to helping everyone get to where they are going.”
One bit of advice for those flying out earlier in the day is to allow for a little extra time. Arriving two hours ahead of your flight time will still suffice, according to Goodman, though those leaving first thing in the morning will likely encounter the longest lines.
A few extra minutes to find airport parking, or for a friend or loved one to drop you off at the departures gate, though, is never a bad idea. Thankfully, due to the Airport Connector, traffic isn’t expected to be a huge issue.
For those flying out of T.F. Green or picking loved ones up at the arrival gate, one of the best ways to stay on top of flight details is to download the PVD Airport App. In addition to real-time flight statuses, the app also had parking information and coupons, airport maps and directions.
The app also includes information on amenities, retail and dining options inside the airport – all of which will also be more crowded during holiday weeks. Those who don’t feel they’ll have enough time for a sit-down meal after security, or just want to bring snacks from home, are encouraged to check with TSA rules and regulations – which will also help get travelers through security more quickly and efficiently.
In addition to long lines, travelers can also expect to be wearing a face covering the entire time they’re in the airport or up in the air. At this time last year, face covering requirements were being imposed by the airlines, but in January, President Joe Biden signed an executive order requiring anyone in an airport or on public transportation – including planes, trains, ferries, and buses – to wear a mask.
Thankfully, T.G. Green has seen compliance from all their travelers, according to Goodman, which he hopes will continue in the week ahead. Any “unruly passengers” who refuse to follow the federal mandate could face steep fines from the Federal Aviation Administration.
Facemask requirements, Goodman said, help to ensure the health and safety of all their passengers – especially those who might be immunocompromised.
For those who might have forgotten their masks at home on their way out the door, there will be masks available upon their arrival – along with kits that include things like hand sanitizer and wipes. The airport, along with airlines, have been following increased cleaning protocols throughout the pandemic, with special attention to high-touch objects.
The airport is also offering rapid testing on a daily basis out of their baggage claim area, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., so travelers can embrace their loved ones with a bit more peace of mind.
The Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the following Sunday are expected to be one of the business travel days of the year, according to Goodman. The Monday and Tuesday before Thanksgiving are also anticipated to be busy travel days this year, given the number of people who’ve been working from home for the past 18 months and feel comfortable enough now to work from anywhere.
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