Alaska Airlines Offers Tips For Holiday Travelers

Busiest travel time of the year doesn't have to be so stressful
11/26/2013 5:59 a.m.

SEATTLE Alaska Airlines offers the following tips for passengers to help ensure their travel is as stress-free as possible during the holiday season starting this week. Learn more about Alaska Airlines' "Top Five Tips for Holiday Travel" at http://bit.ly/IeiFDg .

Information at your fingertips. Passengers can check in up to 24 hours before their flight using Alaska Airlines' iPhone app, Android app or mobile site. Passengers may also check in online at www.alaskaair.com. International passengers can enter passport information online. Alaska Airlines also provides self-serve kiosks at airports and many off-site locations, which allow customers to check in and pay baggage fees.

Allow extra time getting to the airport. Passengers should allow extra time for parking, as lots may be full. Travelers are encouraged to take public transportation or a shuttle to the airport, or park at a nearby satellite lot. At Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, travelers can take advantage of off-peak times at drop-off areas. When picking up passengers in the evening, meet them at the less congested "Departures" level. Likewise, passengers traveling outbound in the busy morning hours will find less congestion by using the lower "Arrivals" level for drop-off and accessing the ticketing level via the elevators and escalators inside.

Better to be early than late. Passengers should arrive at the airport at least two hours before domestic departures and three hours before international departures. Travelers (including those who are not checking bags) must be checked in at least 40 minutes prior to domestic departures. (Exception: 45 minutes before departure in Atlanta, Newark, Philadelphia, Las Vegas and Denver). Customers traveling to an international destination must be checked in at least 60 minutes before departure. (Exception: 90 minutes before departure in Guadalajara, Mexico). Customers must be at the boarding gate no later than 30 minutes prior to departure to avoid cancellation of their itinerary.

Know baggage fees and rules: Travelers should refer to their confirmation email to determine which bag fees and rules apply. For most travelers, a $25 baggage fee will apply for the first two checked bags. Additional bags and overweight or oversize items cost $75 each. First class and Alaska Airlines MVP Gold Mileage Plan members may check two bags free of charge. Club 49 members are allowed to check two bags at no charge when traveling to or from Alaska and all customers traveling solely within the state of Alaska may check three bags free of charge. Customers flying to or from Mexico City and Guadalajara, Mexico, may check one bag free of charge. In addition to having a name tag on the outside of each checked bag (complimentary name tags are available at all ticket counters), travelers are encouraged to complete and print a baggage ID form, available at www.alaskaair.com, to place inside their checked baggage.

One-plus-one is the key for carry-ons: Travelers may carry onboard one bag and one personal item, such as a briefcase, laptop or purse. Bags should fit in the overhead bin and personal items under the seat. Details on size limitations for carry-on items are available at www.alaskaair.com. Travelers planning to transfer to flights on Alaska or other carriers must adhere to standard carry-on limits. Passengers should always carry prescription medications, passports, cameras, film, electronics, cash, jewelry, business papers and other valuables in their carry-ons.

Be savvy of security screening: Travelers are advised to allow additional time for passenger security screening procedures. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) requires all passengers to present government-issued identification at the security checkpoint. Passengers traveling between the United States, Canada and Mexico are required to have a passport. For more information, visit the U.S. Department of State website at www. travel.state.gov. Holiday gifts carried onboard must be unwrapped. The TSA has strict rules for liquids, gels and aerosols in carry-on bags. More information, including a list of prohibited items and tips for expediting the screening process, is available at www.tsa.gov.

Fee information: Alaska Airlines' charge for transporting pets in the cabin is $100 one way. The pet carrier is considered one of the traveler's two carry-ons. The fee for unaccompanied minors (children traveling alone) is $25 one way. The airline's reservation change fee is $125, plus any change in fare for changes made less than 60 days prior to ticketed flight departure. For a complete list of fees associated with travel visit www.alaskaair.com.

In case of bad weather: Travelers should check online or sign up for flight alerts at www.alaskaair.com to keep apprised of significant flight changes, before leaving for the airport.

Alaska Airlines, a subsidiary of Alaska Air Group (NYSE: ALK), together with its partner regional airlines, serves nearly 100 cities through an expansive network in Alaska, the Lower 48, Hawaii, Canada and Mexico. Alaska Airlines has ranked "Highest in Customer Satisfaction Among Traditional Network Carriers" in the J.D. Power and Associates North America Airline Satisfaction StudySM for six consecutive years from 2008 to 2013. For reservations, visit www.alaskaair.com. For more news and information, visit the Alaska Airlines Newsroom at www.alaskaair.com/newsroom.