TRI-CITIES, Tenn. (WJHL) — Down I-26 and over I-81 to grandmother’s house we go…Wherever you’re going this holiday season, leaving early will save you on the roads and in the air.

Tri-Cities Airport expects the busiest days to be the Wednesday and Thursday before Christmas. Both days, Kristi Haulsee, the director of marketing and air service development, said the majority of flights are leaving early in the morning or in the afternoon.

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No matter how seasoned of a traveler you are, Haulsee said to arrive early. Airlines suggest arriving 90 minutes to two hours before your flight.

“Even though it is really easy to get through our airport, we always recommend people get here early,” said Haulsee. “The planes are 80% full. So, a lot of travel coming through the airport.”

Be patient as you head through the airport. Haulsee said there are likely to be people traveling who rarely travel and may not be as familiar with regulations.

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When packing your carry-on, keep those liquids below 3.4 oz and in a clear, quart-sized baggy. If you’re bringing presents in your carry-on or checked bag, save the wrapping for your destination.

“If you are carrying presents with you, don’t wrap them because if they end up having to go through the TSA security and it alarms the system, they’ll be unwrapped here at the airports,” said Haulsee.

As for if you should check or carry on your presents, Haulsee said if they can’t normally be carried on, check the gifts.

Before you head to the airport, double-check that your flight time has not changed. That can be done on the Tri-Cities airport website or on your airline’s website.

Getting an early start also applies to those hitting the road. Sgt. Nathan Hall with the Tennessee Highway Patrol said speed is the top issue they’ll be patrolling for on the roads.

“Speed was the number one contributing factor to fatalities across Tennessee this past year,” said Hall. “We’re looking for impaired drivers, distracted drivers who are on their cell phone or folks not wearing their seatbelt.”

Hall said to put the address in your phone or GPS before you begin driving. He also emphasized that the use of Bluetooth devices while driving is not legal for anyone under the age of 18.

No matter how you get there, do it safely.

“We want you to be the most precious gift your family received this year,” said Hall. “Arrive safely, arrive alive at your house. You and your family. And please have a Merry Christmas.”


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