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With Families Coming Home for the Holidays, AAA and Travelers Aid Offer Tips to Avoid Delays, Confusion at the Airports

Contact: Mike Pina, AAA, Washington, 202-942-2079,;

Ray Flynt, Travelers Aid International, 202-546-1127,


WASHINGTON, Nov. 21 /Standard Newswire/ -- Year end holidays mean that families will be coming together soon and many will be arriving by plane. Airports will be crowded so AAA and Travelers Aid International are releasing the following tips for those who will be meeting friends and family at the airport this holiday season.


Thanksgiving is the second busiest holiday weekend of the year (after July Fourth) and more than 4.8 million Americans will be traveling by air. During the Christmas and New Year's week more than 8 million Americans will be flying. Most of these travelers will be visiting friends and family, according to the Travel Industry Association, which says that 24 percent of all travel to visit friends and family will take place during the year-end holidays.


“Because so many Americans live far from where they grew up, the winter holidays are often the only time each year when they reconnect with families and friends. People who don’t want to start their reunion by getting annoyed and frustrated at the airport need to take some basic precautions that will ensure that they will connect with loved ones quickly and easily,” said Robert L. Darbelnet, President and CEO of AAA.


“Even with the best of planning, problems can develop that are beyond the traveler’s control,” said Ray Flynt, president of Travelers Aid International. “That’s where Travelers Aid steps in – with high-touch customer service during the traveler’s journey. Should someone encounter difficulty, Travelers Aid and its 2,000 volunteers and professional staff act as the safety net.” Services might include reuniting families who have become separated while traveling, providing food or shelter to people stranded without cash, or even emotional counseling.


Before You Leave Home


  • Call the airline or check the airline or airport web site to see if the flight you are meeting is on time.

Parking at the Airport


  • Before leaving for the airport, call the airport (not the airline) to see if it has a “parking hotline” to check the availability of parking.

  • Write down your parking location and take it with you. Turn your lights off.


Meeting Passengers at the Airport


  • Some airports now have “cell phone lots” where you can wait for an arriving passenger who can call you when they arrive.

  • Make sure you have the airline name, flight number and connecting city of your arriving party. If their flight is delayed or missed, it will be virtually impossible to track them down without this information.


  • Designate a specific spot to meet your party because only ticketed passengers may go to the gate area.


  • If you are meeting a child, disabled or elderly passenger, you may be able to go to the gate, but you will have to go to the airline’s check-in counter to get permission first.


  • Holidays are major theft periods so don’t wander away from your party’s bags. When standing at the baggage claim carousel, hand bags to a friend or relative, or hold onto them while you are waiting.


As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 49 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.


Travelers Aid is the oldest, non-sectarian social welfare organization in the United States. The mission of Travelers Aid International is to advance and support a network of human service provider organizations committed to assisting individuals and families who are in transition or crisis and are disconnected from their support systems. Travelers Aid International, headquartered in Washington DC, oversees a network of 54 social service agencies and help desks in transportation centers, including 25 airports, throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico