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On Saturday, the phone rang and I saw that it was a client calling.  It was 8:30 am and I was literally packing up the car to leave for the day for a family commitment out of state.  Mike and Vanessa were leaving that morning for their family vacation from JFK in New York.  Since Mike’s been a client for a long time, I knew that if he was calling on the morning of his departure, we had a problem.

And it was a problem!  He couldn’t print out his boarding passes since they didn’t have seat assignments.  They had arrived at the airport at 7 am for a 9:30 am flight on Jet Blue.  Two and 1/2 hours seemed like plenty of time to get their boarding pass, check their luggage and go through security— usually, anyway.  Not this time, though.  At 8:30 am, after over an hour in line to check their luggage and get their boarding passes, they still were in line and the line through security was even longer.  Their flight was boarding at 8:45 am.

When I called him from the car a few minutes later, Mike said he was just about to call me— his 6 year old starting crying hysterically in the airport that she was going to miss her vacation.  At that point, a Jet Blue agent moved them to the front of the line and got them to the front of the TSA security line.   Thank goodness for a tantrum (in this case) and Mike and Vanessa and their daughter made their flight and already posted pictures from their vacation on Facebook.

A couple of weeks ago, we posted a Travel Tip about getting to the airport earlier than usual because the lines are going to be longer as vacation season approaches.  It seems as though cuts were made in the # of TSA agents, in anticipation that so many people would pay for the TSA pre-check screening or Global Entry, which also allows you to get TSA pre-check, when available.

So without TSA pre-check, how can you save time at the airport?

  1.  Print out your boarding passes within 24 hours of departure (if possible).
  2.  Reconfirm the boarding time and the gate # of your flight.
  3. Even if you don’t have seat assignments, you can print off a boarding pass at the airport kiosks and get seating assignments at the gate.  Drop your luggage with the sky cap and after printing your boarding passes at the kiosk, head right to the TSA lines.
  4. If you can do it, pack lightly and only take a carry on
  5. To help speed up your time on the TSA line, organize what you need to remove from your bags and have them all in one spot of your carry on.  Put all of your keys, loose change, phones, and belt into a zip lock bag and put it in a bin.  Your toiletries will have already been separated out into it’s own ziplock bag.
  6. Wear shoes without laces, pants without belts and have your jacket off and ready to go into a bin.
  7. Check out the security situation with the My TSA app, available for free downloads through I-tunes

So for Mike and Vanessa, we called Jet Blue to reconfirm their flights for their return flight and sent it over to them so they won’t have the problems that they had for their first flight.

My Vacation Lady takes the personal approach to vacation planning and we are there to assist our clients before, during and after their vacations.