How to get home for the holidays

Wednesday December 19, 2012 / Posted by Patricia C.

Well, it’s official.  The holiday season is in full swing.  So far you’ve managed to survive Black Friday, brave the crowded malls, and probably even receive a fruitcake or two.  Now you’re just one holiday away from breaking out the champagne and celebrating the New Year!

To keep your holiday plans hassle free, here are a few travel tips to keep in mind as you’re planning your airport strategy.

  • First, decide on your best method of airport transportation in advance.  Airport parking lots are going to fill up early—so carpooling with a friend who’s also catching a flight might be a good idea—or plan to take public transportation so you don’t have to worry about finding an elusive spot (or paying that parking fee).  Our hometown airport, SFO, is expecting a record number of travelers this year and they’ve got lots of helpful tips for travelers going through SFO here.
  • Remember to stay updated on your Flight Status by [signing up for our flight alerts], and bookmark, our mobile site, to check in, grab a mobile boarding pass, and check your flight status on the go with your preferred gadget. Plus, if you haven’t already, you can follow us on Twitter for updates through the holidays.
  • With so many people heading home at the same time (it’s expected that more than two million travelers will pass through SFO between December 16 and January 2), you can definitely expect longer lines than usual. We recommend that you arrive at the airport two hours prior to your flight if you’re traveling in the U.S. and three hours before your flight if traveling internationally.  To avoid ticket counter lines altogether: check in online, pay your bag fees in advance online, and print your boarding pass—or grab a mobile boarding pass in select destinations—before heading to the airport.  Or, if you’re traveling light, you can always check in at one of our airport kiosks.
  • As a reminder, any liquids or gels in your carry-on need to be limited to 3.4 ounces each, and packed in a re-sealable quart-sized plastic bag. The TSA recommends that you do not wrap gifts, in case a security officer needs to inspect a gift item. And remember, food items and gifts in liquid form, like jams and lotions, are also limited to 3.4 ounces for carry-on (so it will need to be a very small pot of jam indeed if you’re bringing one as a gift!).  You can find detailed information and the latest security rules on the TSA’s website at: And if you’re not sure about our carry-on and checked bag policies—get more info here.

Using these tips should make navigating the airport a bit easier, and at least get you on the “nice” list with the TSA, no matter how naughty a year it’s been.

And, on a more festive note, San Francisco International Airport continues their popular live music series, You are Hear! with a performance by Musical Art Quintet in T2 on December 20, 2012. For more information, click here.

On behalf of all of us at Virgin America, Happy Holidays.