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Travelers flock to airports to take off for Memorial Day weekend

Be prepared for long waits
Posted at 9:19 AM, May 27, 2022

BALTIMORE — Travelers who need to catch a plane to get away for Memorial Day weekend should give themselves some extra time to get to the airport.

AAA projects air travel will be up more than 20% this Memorial Day weekend compared to last year with nearly 65,000 Marylanders expected to fly over the holiday weekend.

AAA travel experts recommend passengers can save some time by checking their flight status before leaving for the airport.

It can prevent travelers from wasting time in case their departure time changes or their flight gets cancelled.

Passengers should be sure to download their airline's app and check for messages about their flight status before their trip.

Because airports will be crowded over the holiday weekend, AAA recommends arriving at the airport at least two hours early for domestic flights and three hours early for international.

If it's been a while since traveling on a plane, especially if the last time was pre-pandemic, passengers might want to refresh their memory and review TSA guidelines for getting through security and pack accordingly.

Travelers don't have to wear a mask anymore in U.S. airports or on domestic flights, but passengers should check to see if masks are still required on international flights and airports if they’re headed overseas.

A lot of people have their boarding pass on their phones and TSA now allows Maryland residents to use a mobile version of their Maryland driver’s license or state id for verification at both BWI and Reagan National airports.

This option is only good for travelers enrolled in TSA PreCheck and are using a TSA PreCheck designated checkpoint lane at the airport.

TSA recommends that eligible travelers complete the process of scanning their id and adding it to their apple wallet before arriving at the TSA checkpoint.

Only passengers with TSA PreCheck added to their boarding pass will be eligible at this time, but the plan is to roll the option out to other passengers soon.

Another new travel trend are flight subscriptions since Alaska Airlines recently launched a flight pass.

Subscriptions start at $49 a month. Flight pass holders can book one round trip flight every two months for a penny, and about $15 in fees.

Right now, the Alaska Airlines flight pass is only good for flights between certain airports in California, Nevada, and Arizona.

JetBlue tried an unlimited flying pass in 2009 but the plan wasn't very profitable and didn't last.

Despite that failure, Nick Ewen with the travel site “The Points Guy" still sees subscriptions as a potential win for airlines because it's a consistent form of revenue.

However, Ewen believes travelers are not consistent with their booking as their travel plans are based more "on demand."

“A lot of travelers have really wanted a lot of flexibility to jump on a specific fare when they see it rather than being in many ways locked into a specific subscription model where they have committed to pay for a certain amount,” Ewen said.

Ewen also believes subscription plans could help airlines forecast demand.

Other airlines surely will be watching to see how well Alaska Airlines succeeds with its flight pass.

Ewan recommends travelers crunch the numbers to make sure you would get your money's worth before signing up for a flight pass

At $49 a month, it would cost nearly $600 for a yearly subscription, plus $180 in fees for a traveler who took at least one flight a month, for a total of about $770.

A flight pass could be worth it for those who travel a lot.

Meanwhile, travelers have a new airline to choose from at BWI. Avelo Airlines now offers one route from BWI to New Haven, Connecticut, five days a week.

Avelo plans to add trips to two other cities this summer. Flights to Orlando start in late June, and flights to Wilmington, North Carolina in early July.