By Kim Stearns, Rogue Valley International — Medford Airport
Overwhelmingly the most important tip is to get here early! So many times people think because Medford is a smaller community, they can easily arrive 30-40 minutes before their departing flight and make it onboard the aircraft. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Flight schedules vary and there can be 7-8 departing flights within a short time, especially in the early mornings. That may not sound like very many but, for an airport our size, the air carriers utilize their staff to multi-task, meaning the same person can be used in a variety of areas including the ticket counter, the gate area and then out to the ramp to help load passengers’ bags. So, if you’re cutting your arrival to the airport short, there may not be a ticket agent at the counter to get you processed because they’ve closed the counter and have already moved to the gate area to begin the boarding process.
Make it easy on yourself. Allow an hour and a half minimum to arrive at the airport before your scheduled departure and use any extra time to catch up on your reading or emails.
Remember to pack your carry-on bags appropriately in regards to the amount of liquids you can bring and how they should be packed. The Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA’s) 3-1-1 rule still applies: three ounces or less, in a one quart-sized, clear plastic zip-top bag; and one bag per passenger.
TSA has a great app for your smart phone or tablet called My TSA. It’s easy to download and very user friendly. This app allows you to type in an item to determine if it’s allowed in your carry-on. Once downloaded just click on an icon on the bottom of the home page labeled, ‘Can I Bring.’ Type in a search word like ‘peanut butter’ and applicable information will pop up.
Wear socks. This way when you have to take your shoes off during screening you’re not walking barefoot where a million feet have trod.
Go through your carry-on bags before you start packing to make sure you don’t have any prohibited items from a hunting or camping trip. Every day across the United States, guns and knives are found in carry-on bags at checkpoints. The average fine for prohibited items runs in the thousands and can really spoil your trip.
Before leaving the screening area; make sure you recover all of your belongings. This is the greatest collecting point for lost items. The airport administration office receives the items that have been left at the screening area. These range from lap tops, electronic tablets, wallets, coats, scarves, etc. Jewelry and medications also get left behind. Best advice is to double check the area before you leave. Of course, the less you bring, the less you’ll have to keep track of on your trip.
Do not wrap presents before traveling. Your gifts could be unwrapped by TSA as part of the screening processes. Save the wrapping until after you arrive at your destination.
This list is certainly not all inclusive but it does reflect the greatest number of issues we see at our airport. We want all of our passengers to have the best travel experience they can, and while there are so many things outside of one’s control in today’s aviation climate, this list will help you, as the passenger, make your trip less stressful.