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11-21-2019 - Tips to Help Travelers Fly through Reno-Tahoe International during the Busy Thanksgiving Holiday

Reno, Nev. – Travel during the busy Thanksgiving holiday will hit a high in 2019 with Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO) anticipating more passengers departing earlier this year.  

Beginning Thursday, November 21 through Wednesday, November 27, and the weekend of November 30 thru December 2, full flights and the potential for 15,000 passengers arriving and departing on peak days is expected to create crowds typical for the four-day holiday weekend.

Airport staff will be working around the clock to make the travel experience seamless and stress-free.  Parking contingencies have also been put in place to prepare for the 5% increase in peak-day traffic over Thanksgiving 2018.  

RNO has contracted with Wooster High School for employee parking the week of Thanksgiving, freeing up over 400 spaces for customers and to alleviate the backlog of extra cars searching for short and long-term spots.  Additional on-site parking at the nearby Air Cargo facility will provide another 100 spaces, and if needed, RNO has arranged with the neighboring SureStay Hotel for 150 overflow spots.

Parking staff will also be working around the clock directing traffic and handing out maps if the garage and surface lot fill up.  As a rule, visitors should look to park first in the garage or surface lot, but if full, overflow signs will be clearly marked as guests enter the airport.  Alternative means of transportation such as Uber, Lyft, taxis, public transportation or catching a ride with a friend or relative is also welcome and encouraged.

As is always the case, it’s critical passengers arrive early, at least 90 minutes prior to their scheduled departure and two hours for international flights.

RNO’s Kindness Takes Flight team will again be on hand to brighten the customer experience by greeting travelers and encouraging them to take part in fun airport programs including:

Gratitude Wall:  The airport Gratitude Wall, now in its third year, will again be located just past security where passengers and airport employees are encouraged to share what they are grateful for this holiday season.

Paws 4 Passengers Therapy Dogs are scheduled Tues., Wed., Fri., and Sun. Nov. 26, 27, 29 and Dec. 1, to bring smiles and calm to airport guests.  

The following additional travel tips will help make the airport experience a pleasant one:

Again … Arrive at least 90 minutes prior to your scheduled departure or two hours before international flights.  Many locals are accustomed to a quick trip through the airport, but this Thanksgiving, expect delays.

Allow extra time to return rental cars and watch for signs to guide you to the appropriate drop-off and parking 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 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.

The holidays are a time when many young children fly unaccompanied to their destination. If sending off a departing unaccompanied minor or a senior traveler, request permission from airline ticket counter personnel to accompany the passenger to the gate. Proper identification will be required to drop off and pick up a child/senior.

Do not wrap gifts. Wait until you reach your destination to wrap holiday gifts as the TSA may need to un-wrap them for inspection.

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