The days surrounding Thanksgiving, especially the following Sunday, are the busiest travel days of the year for the Des Moines International Airport. The Transportation Safety Administration says the DSM airport sees 3,000-3,500 travelers on a routine day, but around Thanksgiving those numbers will be up to 4,500.
The type of flyers are different as well. Airport Executive Director Kevin Foley says usually it’s about a 50-50 split between business and leisure travelers, though around Thanksgiving 90 percent of travelers are not frequent flyers.
People are advised to make sure cell phones are charged, boarding passes are printed, and to get to the airport early. It's important to have patience because traveling is stressful.
"This is a strange environment," says Foley. "You’re surrendering control to people you don’t know. So again, preparation."
One aspect of air travel that officials stress is being mindful of what you can and cannot pack in carry-on luggage. Holiday spirits and other liquid items of sentimental value over 3.4 ounces need to be put in checked baggage.
"A lot of people, they bring through a snow globe," says TSA Officer Sean Oberstadt. "If you need to travel with it, go ahead and put it in your checked luggage."
Oberstadt also recommends waiting to wrap presents until you after you land. TSA agents may have to unwrap that gift to make sure the package isn’t prohibited.