As the Virginia Tech community approaches a break, many individuals may use the Roanoke Blacksburg Regional Airport to get home or visit family and friends.
Holiday travel is among the busiest times at the Roanoke Airport every year.
The airport staff provide the following tips to help travelers avoid unnecessary delays and have a safe and stress-free travel experience.
- Know what 3-1-1 means. When packing your bags, keep in mind TSA's 3-1-1 security measures regarding liquids and gels. Travelers may carry through security checkpoints travel-size toiletries (3 ounces or less) that fit comfortably in one quart size clear plastic zip-top bag. Exceptions are made for medications, baby food and breast milk.
- Pack smart. When packing your carry-on luggage, consider essentials first. For most travelers, essentials include items they can't live without, such as a purse or wallet, travel documents, medications, laptops, cameras, essential toiletries/makeup, a change of clothes, and any other small electronic device (phone, iPod, e-reader, etc). Please keep in mind TSA's rules for permitted and prohibited items when packing your luggage.
- Limit your carry-on baggage. Airlines have been enforcing tighter restrictions on the amount of baggage you can carry on the plane. Generally, one bag that fits under the seat or in the overhead bin and one personal item, such as a purse or briefcase, is allowed.
- Pack holiday goods appropriately. If you're flying home for the holidays, don't wrap gifts since TSA may have to unwrap them for inspection. Also, liquid and gel-like foods such as cranberry sauce, gravy, and salad dressing will be confiscated (following TSA's 3-1-1 liquid rules), so ship them ahead or put them in your checked bag.
- Remember your ID. Passengers traveling domestically - age 18 and older - are advised to carry a government-issued form of identification at all times. See TSA's rules for acceptable identification requirements at the checkpoint.
- Schedule enough processing time. During the busy holiday travel season, ROA recommends all passengers arrive in the terminal approximately two hours prior to departure. Keep in mind that airlines have a bag check-in cutoff of 30-45 minutes prior to departure. With the new security checkpoint procedures and other screening measures in place, passengers should allow adequate time for security checks.
- Dress for success. Before you head to the airport, empty your pockets of loose change, wear minimal jewelry, and avoid wearing a belt so you have fewer items to remove for the security screening process. Wear shoes that are easy to slip off and on. And if your travels include someplace cold, try to wear one jacket you can remove easily.
- Keep electronics accessible. All electronic items, such as laptops and cell phones, may be subject to additional screening. You will need to remove your laptop from its travel case so that both may be X-rayed separately. You may want to label your laptop to avoid mix-ups when several laptops that look alike move through X-ray machines in succession.
- Use line time efficiently. Most likely, no matter when you get to the airport you will have to stand in a security line for some time. While you're waiting, take off your coat and watch, put your phone and loose change in your carry-on, and have your 3-1-1 bag out and ready. This way when you reach the front of the line you can quickly put your items in the bin.
- Be polite. Agitated or argumentative passengers are more likely to seem suspicious and may require more screening.
Note: The Roanoke Blacksburg Regional Airport is currently undergoing some construction work. United Airline’s normal gate (2) is closed for renovation and United is operating out of Gate 3. Also, the main terminal revolving doors in the center of the airport are closed. The airport is replacing the revolving doors with sliding doors and will also be replacing the escalators. Passengers should enter through doors one or two.
For more information, contact the Roanoke Blacksburg Regional Airport at 540-362-1999.