Almost every year it seems like a storm, somewhere, snarls Thanksgiving travel. This year the East Coast is getting the bad weather, and flight delays there can boomerang through the U.S. Some defensive-travel tips:
• Check your flight’s status, through your airline’s website, before you go to the airport. Better to wait at home than at crowded Sea-Tac Airport. Or see real-time flight info for Sea-Tac (just like they post in the terminal) at portseattle.org/sea-tac/flights-airlines/
• See the delays at airports nationwide at fly.faa.gov/flyfaa/usmap.jsp. That lets you know what you’re in for, especially if you have a connecting flight.
•In case your flight is canceled, have your airline’s phone number; it could be quicker than waiting at the airport check-in counter to rebook.
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•Sea-Tac Airport will be busiest (about 90,000 passengers a day) on Wednesday, Sunday (Dec. 1) and Monday (Dec. 2). To avoid congestion on the Sea-Tac airport drives (the busiest periods are mornings for departures and evenings for arrivals) do the opposite thing. Drop off departing travelers in the arrivals area and pick up arriving passengers on the departures drive. Or use the cellphone waiting lot or park in the garage on the Terminal Direct floor.
•Make sure you pack according to TSA security rules: see tsa.gov/traveler-information
•Travel with just a carry-on bag if possible; you’ll avoid luggage delays or loss (and the checked-bag charge). But don’t take a supersized carry-on bag. With holiday flights full, the airlines will be enforcing size limits.