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Travelers prepare for the holidays

By: Genevieve Curtis

EL PASO, Texas -- Whether travelers are taking off for the holidays or fetching friends from the airports, there are definitely bound to be crowds on the busiest travel day of the year.

Holiday traffic at the El Paso International Airport appears to be moving slowly, with no major delays or cancellations.

"Right now, I'm really stoked at El Paso Airport. It's really easy to get through. I'm usually traveling in and out of LAX (Los Angeles International Airport), and it's a real hassle. It's been pretty good," said Shayne Everman, a traveler.

Still, airport officials are emphasizing that travelers should arrive two hours early.

"This is a busy time, so we see people arriving a little late, cutting it a little too close for comfort, and we don't want them to miss their flight," said Liz Bellgearde, spokesperson for the EPIA. When it comes to all things holidays, long lines seem to be a common theme, and traveling is no exception.

"I'm about 2 hours early; I think I'm going to have about two hours at the bar," said Everman. So any way to trim the wait is a gift for travelers.

"I do about 75 round trips a year, so that's about one or two round trips per week consistently," said Chad Harron.

The Transportation Security Administration now offers one way to skip the long security lines; it's called Pre-Check.

Passengers can register online, and if they qualify, for $85 a year, they can move through a designated security line much quicker and not have to remove laptops from bags or take belts off. "Or your shoes off," said Harron.

Getting registered is on frequent flyer Chad Harron's wish list. "It's well worth it if you're a frequent traveler," said Harron.

Harron said he first noticed the Pre-Check lines in the major airports in Dallas, Chicago and Miami, but now they are in more than 100 airports, including EPIA.

"The net effect, I think, is oftentimes that is greatly reduces the wait time for everybody as a whole," said Harron.

Another hangup for travelers is containers of liquids. Travelers are limited to 3.4-ounce containers of liquids, which need to be in quart-size, clear plastic bags. There are airport ambassadors distributing those bags just in case.

Travelers can use the airport's website to monitor their flight's status. Frequent travelers will remember the airport did have some construction near the entrance; they've put that on hold this holiday season.

Also this year, airport officials are encouraging people who are picking up travelers to wait in the cell lot off of Pieper Street.

"You can park there. The only thing need to remember to do is stay in your vehicle, but you can relax and wait for your friend or family member to call you on their cell, and you can drive to the front of their vehicle and pick them up," said Bellegarde.

This is also the first holiday season with the USO open for service members and their families to rest and relax during their commutes. The cozy room features complimentary food, drinks, books and movies.

 

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