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07-01-2019 - Independence Day Weekend Travel Tips

This Independence Day weekend is expected to be “booming” at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO), with an average of 15,000 passengers arriving and departing each day through the terminal Wednesday through Sunday, the peak travel days.  That’s a 12% increase year-over-year, as air service is on the rise at RNO. 

With increased non-stop service to Portland and Seattle on Alaska Airlines, increases to Dallas, Chicago and Phoenix on American, to Houston and San Francisco on United and to San Diego on Southwest, you can get more places more often. But it also means a busier airport, and the airlines are expected to be almost full this holiday weekend.

The 12% increase in daily passengers compared to the 2018 Independence Day holiday affects not only aircraft in the sky, but vehicles on the roadway.  Some of the airport’s parking areas will be at or near capacity.  Airport staff may utilize overflow parking areas, depending on vehicle parking demand. Passengers are encouraged to watch for signage and follow the airport on social media to be alerted to these times of extra vehicle traffic.

To also ease the travel process, travelers are encouraged to arrive early, at least 90 minutes prior to their domestic scheduled departure and two hours for international flights, in order to allow time for parking, airline check-in and TSA security lines.  Although RNO is known for being a quick, convenient airport, passengers arriving early will avoid unnecessary stress.

Paws 4 Passengers therapy dogs will also be on hand periodically throughout the summer to help calm passenger fears and ease the travel experience.

Below are additional travel tips that can help make the airport experience a pleasant one:

  • Allow extra time to return rental cars and watch for signs to guide you to the appropriate drop-off lane.
  • The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will staff the Security Checkpoint starting at 4:00 a.m. and will have the Pre-Check line open for registered Pre-Check travelers. TSA has committed to keeping the Pre-Check lane open at RNO all hours that the Security Checkpoint is open.  To expedite the security screening process:
    • Empty pockets, remove shoes and jewelry, and place them in the bins provided. TSA requires removing personal electronic devices larger than a cell phone from your carry-on bag (e.g. laptops, tablets, e-readers and handheld game consoles).  Place these items in a bin with nothing on or under them for X-ray screening.  Remember to retrieve all belongings once through screening.
    • Wear comfortable clothing and be prepared to remove coats, jackets and all outerwear. Place them in the bin for screening.
    • Know the TSA 3-1-1 rule for carry-on bags at www.tsa.gov. Liquids, gels and aerosols such as shampoo, lotion and perfume must be packed in a one quart plastic baggie, one baggie per customer placed in its own bin.
    • Food brought through security usually requires extra screening.
  • Call the airline or visit their website prior to departure to check flight status. Weather across the nation can impact flights at RNO.  Sign up for automated alerts sent directly to your smart phone.
  • To save time, download boarding passes at home. For specific luggage check-in cut-off times and baggage fees, please visit your airline’s website.  All airlines at RNO except Southwest Airlines charge for the first checked bag.
  • Many children and families travel during the summer; be patient with inexperienced travelers.  If sending off a departing unaccompanied minor, talk to airline ticket counter personnel if you wish to accompany the passenger to the gate.  Proper identification is required to drop off and pick up children.

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