As travel rules evolve, here's what to expect
Travelers are being asked to arrive at least two hours before domestic flights and three hours before international flights to allow for tighter security procedures. At Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, two hours for domestic flights is definitely enough. The lines will be long and check-in/screening process will be slow. Stress levels can be reduced by allowing more than enough time, and then enjoying a cup of coffee with a good book.
Parking and curbside access
The FAA prohibits parking within 300 feet of an airport terminal. This has forced some airports to close short-term parking areas. Valet parking at some airports has also been suspended. Be sure you don’t leave packages or other materials in your car that could appear suspicious. No curbside check-in is available at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. Do not plan to pick up your friends or relatives at the curbside upon arrival. The Anchorage short-term parking garage gives you free parking for up to 45 minutes.
Passengers must have government-issued photo identification. It can be either federal, state or local. Be prepared to present your ID upon check-in and at subsequent points along with boarding passes. Minors do not need photo ID as long as an accompanying adult certifies their identity.
Automated check-in kiosks are available at Alaska Airlines. Make sure to check in before you go through the security gate. Web check-in has also been restored. Consequently, electronic tickets are being accepted again. Written confirmation, such as a letter from the airline acknowledging the reservation might be required.
One carry-on bag and a personal item, such as a purse, briefcase or laptop computer is allowed. Do not carry on knives of any kind including straight razors, scissors, and metal nail files. Other prohibited items include corkscrews, baseball bats, golf clubs, pool cues, ski poles and hockey sticks. Permitted items for carry-on, however, include walking canes, umbrellas, nail clippers, safety and disposable razors, tweezers and eyelash curlers. Of course, these rules are subject to change. Please check with the airline for the latest information before traveling.
Limit the metal objects you wear. There have been several reported cases where women wearing underwire bras set off metal detectors. Allow ample time to go through the line. This process may take as much time as check-in procedures if not more. Only ticketed passengers are allowed beyond the checkpoints. Say your goodbyes before you head for the gate. Exceptions are for those with specific medical needs or for a parent escorting a child. Again, check with the airline for specific requirements.
Everyone, including the traveling public, government officials, airport staff and airline crew members, now has to adapt to a wide range of new regulations. The rules will continue to evolve. There are many factors that are beyond our control; however, you can control your outlook on travel to have a pleasant trip.
Yoshi Ogawa is president of ITC Travel & Tours in Anchorage. He can be reached at 907-561-7722 or via e-mail at ([email protected]).