Nearly 750,000 passengers will pass through the Calgary International Airport over the next two weeks and officials have a few suggestions to help travellers ease through the traffic in the terminal.

The busiest day at the airport before Christmas will be on Thursday, when as many as 50,000 people will pass through the terminal, and officials say December 27 will see the most activity at the airport over the holidays.

“The busiest day during this two week stretch is going to be Thursday, December 27, we get over 50,000 people,” said Reid Fiest, Calgary Airport Authority.

Many people are already making their way to their holiday destinations and the facility is prepared to handle the influx of passengers

The airport has holiday programming in place to entertain guests in the terminal and is offering pictures with Santa and live music.

“We’ve got a lot of activities planned over the next couple of weeks to lessen the stress of people going through the airport and of course we’ve got lots of people here,” said Feist. “We’ve brought in a new music program so you’re going to see and hear, most importantly, a lot of musicians, local musicians, throughout the airport to try to take that edge off of holiday travelling.”

“Not very many people know that we have a coat check. So if you’re heading to a warm destination and you’ve got your heavy coat with you, you can drop it off here at the airport and for just a couple of dollars, we'll look after it while you’re away and you pick it up when you return,” said Michael Hayward, VP of Marketing and Guest Experience, Calgary Airport Authority.

Officials recommend people do not wrap gifts.

“It’s much better to wrap your gifts after the security check point. As much as we really like unwrapping gifts as well, we much prefer not to unwrap yours,’ said Christine Langlois, spokesperson for Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA). “The season will be busy and we want to remind people to give themselves plenty of time, be easy on yourself, give yourself more time as everybody will want to travel at the same time.”

“Wait until you get here to wrap your presents because if we have to examine it, everything is subject to examination and so it’ll prevent us from unwrapping you presents,” said Gwen Pease, Border Service officer.

A gift wrapping station will be set up in the post-security area starting on December 20th.

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.

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