Travel Tips

15 tips for simpler summer travel

Summer vacation travel season has begun, with more travelers than usual adding to long security line wait times at airports. We want to make sure you arrive at your gate with plenty of time to catch your flight, despite the extra busy airports.

Here???s some of our best advice for making your airport and security check experience as simple as possible.

Preparing before you fly:

1.  Go digital.

Check in for your flight online or using the Alaska Airlines app to save time waiting in ticket counter lines.

2.  Consider joining a trusted traveler program.

Enroll in a trusted traveler program "This indicates a link to an external site that may not meet accessibility guidelines." like TSA Pre-Check®, Global Entry, Nexus, or SENTRI. Membership in these programs allows you access to the faster security screening lanes at participating airports, where you don't have to remove your shoes, belts, or light jackets, and your 3-1-1 liquids bag and laptop can stay in your carry-on.

3.  For international trips, try Mobile Passport Control.

Mobile Passport Control  "This indicates a link to an external site that may not meet accessibility guidelines." (MPC) is an app designed to expedite entry into the United States by letting eligible travelers submit their passport information and answer CBP "This indicates a link to an external site that may not meet accessibility guidelines." inspection-related questions prior to CBP inspection. Using the Mobile Passport app doesn’t require pre-approval, and it can be downloaded for free from the Apple App Store and Google Play  "This indicates a link to an external site that may not meet accessibility guidelines.".

4.  Check your bags.

You’ll likely make it through the security line even quicker by reducing the items you’ll need to take through by checking your bags instead. Brush up on our checked baggage policy and print your own bag tags at home to save time at the airport.

5.  Remember the "one plus one" carry-on rule.

You are allowed one carry-on bag, plus one smaller personal item. Read our specific guidelines for carry-on baggage. Also, don???t pack your carry-on bag too fully, as densely packed, cluttered bags take longer to scan and screen at the security checkpoint.

6.  Measure your carry-on bag.

We recently changed our bag size limit to 22" x 14" x 9" to make sure that your carry-on bag will be accepted aboard all the flights within your itinerary. When measuring your bag, be sure to include the wheels and handle in the total measurement.

7.  Prepare your carry-on liquids bag properly.

The TSA liquids rule "This indicates a link to an external site that may not meet accessibility guidelines." allows you to carry one quart-sized bag of liquids - aerosols, gels, creams and pastes that are 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item - through the security checkpoint. Be sure to keep the liquids bag easily accessible, so that it’s simple for you to drop it into the security bin without digging through your carry-on bag at the checkpoint.

8.  Get your kids ready to travel solo.

If you're planning summer travel for kids who will be flying by themselves, be sure to visit our children traveling alone section to learn about how to book their flights, download the special forms you???ll need to complete, and discover the different types of help we offer for kids of all ages.

9.  Know what items are a no-go.

As you pack, reference the prohibited and restricted items checklist, and make sure you know what's in your suitcase. Be especially aware of restrictions regarding lithium ion batteries, and devices that use them, including phones, cameras, e-cigarettes, drones, hoverboards, and smart luggage/e-bags.

10.  Pet travel can be complicated, so plan ahead.

While taking your pup along on summer vacation is essential, it does take some advance planning. Be sure to familiarize yourself with our policies on traveling with pets well before you fly. An important note: pets cannot travel in the baggage compartment or in the First Class cabin on flights operated with Airbus aircraft, which are flight numbers 1000-1999.

11.  Make sure your support animal's papers are ready.

If you're traveling with an emotional support animal, be aware that our requirements have changed recently. Read through our updated policy on support animals for all of the documents and timelines you'll need.

On the day of your flight:

12.  Head to the airport early.

Get to the airport at least 2 hours before your domestic flight departs, and 3 hours before your international flight. This should give you plenty of time to park, see the ticket agent, check your bags, and make your way through security.

13.  Before you step into the security line, take a moment to prepare.

Remove your jacket, belt, larger metal jewelry, and the contents of all your pockets, and place them into your bags to pass through the scanner. Wear shoes that are easily removable, or untie or loosen your shoelaces if you can. Have your boarding pass and acceptable ID ready to hand to the screening agent.

14.  Larger electronics go in the bin.

Personal electronic devices larger than a cell phone - this includes laptops, tablets, e-readers, and handheld game consoles - must be placed in a bin alone for screening. Keep these devices easily accessible so that you can drop them into the bin quickly.

15.  Pick up all of your scanned items and step aside.

Once your bags and bin have gone through the scanner, pick them up and move them away from the scanner conveyor belt to a nearby bench or chair. You'll have more time to put your shoes and belt back on and return your liquids bag back to your suitcase, while allowing those behind you in line to more easily retrieve their items from the scanner.