Grand Rapids, MI – The holiday travel season is underway at Gerald R. Ford International Airport, bringing with it many travelers who may not be as familiar with the airport and the air travel system.
Due to increased passenger volume during this time, airport officials recommend passengers arrive at the airport two hours prior to their scheduled departure time. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recommends that travelers proceed immediately through security, as many airlines begin boarding 30 minutes before departure.
Airport changes since the holiday season 2011 to be aware of include:
- The relocation of Allegiant Air to Concourse A; Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, and Allegiant operate on Concourse A, all others operate on Concourse B;
- The relocation of the Air Canada ticket counter to the far east end of the ticketing lobby, near American Airlines.
Security changes since the holiday season 2011 to be aware of include:
- Passengers age 12 and under and age 75 and older may leave their shoes on when going through security;
- Gel inserts for shoes are now permitted;
- Snow globes that appear to contain less than 3.4 ounces (approximate size of a tennis ball) will be permitted if the entire snow globe, including the base, is able to fit in the same one clear plastic, quart-sized, resealable bag as your other liquids such as shampoo, toothpaste, etc.;
- The MyTSA App may be able to answer many of your questions. Among the great features is the “Can I Bring My…” tool. Type in the name of the item you are curious about and it tells you if the item is permitted or not, along with packing tips.
Here are a few additional suggestions from the TSA:
When packing for your trip:
- Remember not to over pack. Over-packed luggage may require additional screening.
- Each traveler is permitted to take one carry-on bag and one personal item, such as a purse or briefcase, on board the aircraft. These items must fit in the overhead bin or beneath your seat, so select the appropriate size. (Carry-on fees apply for select airlines.)
- Remember the 3-1-1 Rule for liquids and gels. Only liquids and gels in 3-ounce or smaller containers are permitted in carry-on luggage. All 3-ounce containers must fit in one clear, sealed plastic bag that is no larger than one quart.
- Leave gifts unwrapped prior to travel. They may have to be unwrapped for security screening.
At the airport:
- Have your ID and boarding pass accessible until after you pass through the security screening checkpoint.
- Be prepared to remove coats and shoes and place them in a bin for screening.
- Your 3-1-1 bag and laptop must be removed for separate screening.
- Remove all metal objects, including cell phones and pagers, prior to arriving at the security checkpoint. Placing these in your carry-on bag will ensure they are not left behind.
Airport officials remind travelers to plan a few extra minutes to locate a parking space, as parking facilities will be busy during this time. Additionally, meeters and greeters are reminded that the airport offers a free “Cell Phone Lot” where motorists may wait with their vehicles until their party is ready to be picked up. This lot is located on Ross Dr. just south of Oostema Blvd, near the entrance to the airport.
This is a very busy travel season at Ford International Airport. We hope these suggestions and updates help make the airport experience less stressful for our patrons, and we wish everyone a very happy and safe holiday season.