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Peak Squeeze: Surviving air travel in the holiday season

December 26, 2019

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” goes the chorus of the Andy Williams holiday hit.

Those lyrics may not ring true if you’re flying over the December holiday season.

In the U.S alone, 2.9 million travelers are expected to fly on Dec. 26 and 27. That’s in addition to the 2.4 million who travel on U.S airlines on a normal day, according to Airlines for America. The organization estimates that 47.5 million passengers will fly on U.S. airlines over the 18-day winter holiday travel period from December 19 through January 5.

Tighter squeezes are expected across Europe and Asia too. It’s a time of year when passengers laden with snowboards, gift and tired children fill the terminals. Here are three ways to get through it without leaving your good spirits at the check-in desk.

  1. Be the early bird that catches the flight
    The first flight of the day is often the cheapest and comes with the added bonus of shorter lines at security. If there’s a cancellation, you’re more likely to be re-booked on a flight departing the same day.

    If you’re not booked on an early flight, get to the airport early anyway. It’s preferable to peruse your holiday photos with a coffee than to be twitching in line for security.

    f you’re traveling for work, make sure that alerts are at your fingertips. Download the necessary apps like myCWT.

  2. Pack like a navy seal, not Santa
    It’s peak season. Overhead compartments will be packed like a kid’s stocking on Christmas morning. Airlines have their own size restrictions so be sure to check their website for carry-on requirements.

    Carry on board only what you require and organize your fully-charged devices in a bag with compartments. It’s worth investing in a great carry-on bag. In the battle of knees, elbows, and chunky knitwear, you’ll need easy access to your survival kit. Make sure you have entertainment easily available. Bring a good book or download your favorite films and episodes to your laptop before you leave to the airport. They will come in handy in case of delays, too. 

  3. Be a pick-up artist
    Don’t rely on hailing a cab when you land. Pre-book hotel pick-up, taxi service or car rental before you take off to your destination. Make sure you give your transport service your flight details so they can check for delays and have phone numbers to hand in case your plans change.


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