Grand Rapids, MI – The Thanksgiving holiday travel period 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, 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 Thanksgiving 2010 to be aware of include:
- The relocation of Continental Airlines to Concourse B. Delta Air Lines and Frontier Airlines operate on Concourse A; all others operate on Concourse B;
- Delta, Continental and United Airlines offer travelers the option of using an electronic boarding pass via their smart phones.
Security changes since Thanksgiving 2010 to be aware of include:
- TSA has installed Advanced Imaging Technology units on both concourses;
- Passengers age 12 and under may leave their shoes on when going through security;
- A third screening lane has been opened on Concourse A for use during peak travel times.
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.
- 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. (Remember: snow globes of any size are not permitted in carry-on bags.)
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 more full during this time. Additionally, meeters and greeters are reminded that the airport offers a free “Cell Phone Waiting 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.
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.