Skip the gift wrapping and arrive early: Travel tips for the holiday season

As airport terminals fill up with the increased hustle and bustle of holiday traffic, the Winnipeg Airports Authority (WAA) is sharing travel tips to help make your trip a smooth one.

According to the WAA, this is one of its busiest weeks of the year, with 12,000 daily passengers expected to travel through the Winnipeg Richardson International Airport on Thursday and Friday.

To avoid unnecessary delays and hassle, WAA communications manager Rosset recommends planning ahead.

“Your trip starts at home, so as you’re preparing for your trip in the days and weeks before takeoff, it’s important to review the requirements of where you’re travelling to, and that includes any countries that you’re connecting through,” he said, noting many countries still require a negative COVID-19 test or proof of vaccination upon entry.

He recommends checking with your airline before travelling to make sure you meet all the requirements and have the necessary documentation.

Additionally, Rosset said it’s important to pack properly. Travellers should review requirements for both checked and carry-on luggage.

One common packing faux pas – wrapped gifts. According to Rosset, presents must be unwrapped in both checked and carry-on luggage in case security has to screen the items.

“If you are putting them in your carry-on baggage, we do have a gift wrapping station post-security that you can utilize free with a donation to Harvest Manitoba,” he said.

Giving yourself plenty of time will also help avoid holiday headaches. Rosset said travellers should arrive at the airport two hours before a domestic flight and three hours before an international flight.

While terminals are expected to fill up this week, Rosset said passenger numbers will likely still be shy of pre-pandemic volumes, which saw about 15,000 people travel through the airport on the busiest days leading up to the holidays.

“We’re about double of what we saw last year and a lot further than what we saw in 2020, when we saw about 2,500 people pass through the airport on busiest days, so a good path ahead,” he said.

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