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Flying for Thanksgiving? Be Prepared [AUDIO]

More than 1.3 million passengers will pass through Newark Liberty International, John F. Kennedy International, LaGuardia and Stewart International Airports on Wednesday, one of the busiest travel days of the year.

(Flickr: Kuster & Wildhaber Photography)

Newark, Kennedy and LaGuardia expect to see increases of 1.5 percent in travel over last year. So if you’re heading to the airport, give yourself extra time and bring some patience.

“Travel smart, pack light; keep your identification, prescriptions and gadgets on your person and have them ready to go,” said John Heimlich, vice president and chief economist at Airlines for America. “Take advantage of airline websites and flight trackers, and sign up for digital alerts that will notify you of any changes in your itinerary, schedule, aircraft, gate and whatnot.

“You should also arrive early at the airport, recognizing that there are many infrequent air travelers this time of year,” said Heimlich.

According to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, about 613,000 passengers will use Kennedy Airport, 395,000 will travel through Newark and nearly 291,000 are expected at LaGuardia, while 4,200 will use Stewart. Nationally, the number of passengers traveling from last Friday, Nov. 22 through Tuesday, Dec. 3 is expected to increase by 31,000 travelers per day from 2012.

Planes may be more than 85 percent full on the busiest days, which are today and Sunday, Dec. 1, when 2.6 million passengers are expected to take to the skies nationwide.

“Check your carrier’s website, make sure your carry-on luggage fits, but be prepared to check it at the gate if necessary,” said Heimlich. “As with any holiday period or any summer period, the big question mark is always the weather, which is why it’s so important to sign up for these alerts and embrace social media with your airline.”

For more tips, visit

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