One of the busiest travel days of the year is on Thursday as thousands of people head out for the holidays and the Calgary airport will see thousands of people pass through the terminal by the end of the day.

Airport authorities say about 49,000 passengers will use the facility on December 20th.

“Today will be the busiest day before Christmas,” said Reid Fiest, Spokesperson for the Calgary Airport Authority. “We’re ready. We have extra staff, from an airport authority perspective, and then also from our airline partners and other service providers, they brought in extra people.”

A number of activities have been planned to help guests pass the time while waiting for flights.

“We’ve also got a lot of holiday programs, over the next couple of days to ease the stress and put people in the spirit. We’ve got a number of school groups and choirs today. We’ve got Christmas and holiday characters who will be bouncing around. I think the Grinch will be around later on today,” he said.

Fiest says it will be busy so people should factor in a little extra time to ensure a smooth trip.

“Add a little extra time, perhaps 15 to 30 minutes on top of what they would normally do, whether it be for domestic or international travel and then that will hopefully take away some of the nerves and stress of holiday travelling,” he said.

Officials are advising passengers not to wrap gifts and have set up a gift wrapping station in the post-security area to help guests.

Tips from CATSA for Stress-free Screening

  • Tag your carry-on and checked baggage with your contact information.
  • Give yourself plenty of time to get through pre-board screening, especially during peak travel periods (early morning, noon, and early evening).
  • Leave empty baggage carts outside of the screening checkpoint.
  • Have your boarding pass ready to present for verification.  You may need to show photo identification. At some airports, the validation of your boarding pass will be done automatically by a scanner.
  • NEVER joke or make “small talk” about bombs, firearms or other weapons while going through pre-board screening – you could be charged with an offence under the Canadian Aviation Security Regulations.
  • Understand what to expect during a physical search.

Tips for packing liquids, non-solid food and personal items

  • Containers of liquids, non-solid food and personal items in your carry-on must be 100 ml/100 g (3.4 oz) or less. All containers must fit in one clear, resealable plastic bag no more than 1L in capacity. The bag must be transparent so screening officers can easily see the contents.
  • Each passenger is allowed a single 1 L bag containing liquids, food and personal items. The approximate dimensions of a 1L bag are 15.24 cm by 22.86 cm (6 in. by 9 in.) or 20 cm by 17.5 cm (8 in. by 7 in.).
  • At the screening point, take your plastic bag out of your carry-on and place it in a bin.
  • Any containers over 100 ml/100 g (3.4 oz) can be placed in your checked baggage as long as they are not prohibited items. 
  • Avoid packing gifts and souvenirs containing liquids, aerosols and gels in your carry-on. These include: liquor, wine, beer, snowglobes, cans of condensed soup, maple syrup, perfume, and lotion. Put them in checked baggage or ship them separately.

Nearly 750,000 people will go through the airport during the last two weeks of December.

For the latest on travel information and rules and regulations on baggage, click HERE.