(Houston, TX -- Gail Delaughter, KUHF) The Houston Airport System is expecting over two million travelers this holiday season and that means long lines at security at its two major facilities.
Most passengers travel in and out of five terminals at Bush Intercontinental, the sprawling hub 20 miles north of downtown that's known locally as the "Big Airport." Budget-minded and short-hop travelers go to Hobby Airport, a much smaller facility that sits at the edge of a residential area in southeast Houston. Hobby handles a much smaller percentage of the traffic, but officials there expect about a three percent increase in travel over last year's holiday period.
So as families hit the airport laden with luggage and gifts, airport spokeswoman Roxanne Butler is putting out seasonal reminders for folks who don't travel a lot, stuff that's become a fact of life for the seasoned business traveler. If you don't want to bog down the security line, keep it simple.
"Don't wear all the jewelry, and if you have a belt, make sure it's easy to get on and off, shoes, easy to slip on and off."
But there's good news for parents traveling with cranky kids.
"They are allowing kids 12 and under to keep their shoes on while they're going through the checkpoints, which will speed it up because we see a lot of large families."
The three-ounce rule is still in effect for liquids in carry-ons but there are exceptions for medications, baby formula, and breast milk. Butler says aside from what in a bottle, it's important to consider other items that contain liquids, like a snow globe you may be giving as a gift.
"You know, it's happened to my family, where they have a jar of olives and they forget, oh my gosh, there is liquid in it. And you have to drain it before you go through the checkpoint."
Travelers are also being advised again this year to keep gifts unwrapped in case TSA agents need to see inside.
Butler says passengers can stay on top of any delays by following Bush Intercontinental on Twitter @iah and Hobby @HobbyAirport.