Waiting in line is a fact of life at the airport.

Gregory Bull, Associated Press - Ap

Making holiday flying a happier experience

  • Article by: CATHARINE HAMM
  • Los Angeles Times
  • December 22, 2012 - 1:55 PM

You, there. You with the holidays stars in your eyes. Maybe you fly only a couple of times a year or maybe you just need a refresher course at this particularly stressful time. To help you get up and away, here are a few tips:

If weather causes you to miss a connection and you're stranded, you're on your own. U.S. airlines don't consider it their responsibility when Mother Nature causes you to miss a flight, so if you get stuck -- well, enjoy. The airline may help you rebook, but it won't necessarily put you up in a hotel or feed you. That's why you need to have a little extra cash or a credit card with you, just in case.

If you didn't book through a travel agent who can act as your advocate, consider, which can help you make other arrangements. For a fee, it will help you find transportation or a hotel and will assist in resolving disputes.

Don't wrap your packages until you get there. OK, you can wrap them if you want, but if the Transportation Security Administration sees something suspicious, it will unwrap them. It doesn't matter if it's in your carry-on or your checked luggage.

Clean out your bags. As Nico Melendez of the TSA said last week, make sure you go through your carry-on bag before you get to the airport, even if you think you know what's in it. If there's contraband -- such as a Swiss Army knife from your last camping trip -- you'll hold up the line. And you'll hold up yourself as a bad example.

Get the 4-1-1 on the 3-1-1 (3 ounces or less in one 1-quart bag). You may not like the TSA but fliers must play by its rules, so know them. For instance, you may want to carry on some milk for Santa's cookies, but it'd better not be more than 3 ounces (3.4 actually, because it's calculated as 100 milliliters) unless you bought it post-security. The TSA's website at outlines the rules in full.

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