SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Attention travelers! Now is the time to prepare for your winter break travel as airports will receive a record number of travelers from February 17 through the 26.

The Syracuse Regional Airport Authority (SRAA) is reminding travelers that this time period will be busy and has announced tips for flying out of Syracuse Hancock International Airport (SYR) for winter break.

Most local school districts begin their winter break on Friday, February 17 and from that date until February 26, airports are expecting just over 50,000 passengers to board flights at SYR. This represents a 10% increase in travelers over the same period last year.

The busiest travel days are projected to be Saturday, February 18, and Saturday, February 25. During this stretch of time, over 5,400 and 5,500 daily departing passengers are expected.

“With more airline options than ever before, we’re excited to see so many people using SYR as the gateway to their winter break getaway,” said SRAA Executive Director Jason Terreri. “Our team has been hard at work curating an exceptional airport customer experience and we look forward to helping vacationing families start their journey on the right foot.”

Prebook parking ahead of time

Travelers who are planning to park their car at the airport are encouraged by SRAA to prebook their parking on the airport’s parking page. Please note that pre-booked parking spaces represent only a portion of the overall parking capacity at the airport.

People who do not want to pre-book parking can monitor the near-real-time parking lot status updates on the same webpage.

Enjoy food and beverages at the airport

During this time, travelers will notice even more local offerings in airport gift shops, bars, and restaurants. Local favorites from Battle Tested BBQ Sauce, Chocolate Pizza Company, Sprague’s Maple Farms, and many others will include products for great last-minute gifts to bring to loved ones.

Many fresh food and beverage options are also now available 24 hours a day, including the new fresh vending machine located in Terminal B near Gate 22, the autonomous Costa Coffee Smart Cafes located in both Terminal A and Terminal B, and the autonomous Yo-Kai Express Ramen machines located both pre and post-security checkpoint.

Take advantage of the airport’s PET Program while traveling with animals

During this heavy travel period, volunteers from the airport’s Pets Easing Travelers (PET) Program will conduct increased therapy dog visits to the airport during the winter break stretch.

TSA travel tips for a smooth security checkpoint experience

Local Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials are also reminding travelers to arrive at the airport two hours prior to their scheduled departure. This is especially important during the busy departure windows of 4:30 a.m. – 6:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., and 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

In order to prepare for this busy time. TSA recommends the following six travel tips.

1.) Pack smart – start with an empty bag and ensure you do not have any prohibited items.

You never want to be that person whose bag doesn’t pass through the TSA scanner, so make sure before you get to the airport that you don’t have any prohibited items.

That includes firearms, flammables, knives, razors, replica weapons, and more. To avoid delays, passengers should view TSA’s “What Can I Bring?” page and begin packing with a bag that is empty.    

2.) Remember the 3-1-1 Liquids Rule.

Don’t forget to be smart when packing toiletries and anything liquid! When traveling with toiletries, you always need to make sure they are kept in a quart-sized bag and each item is 3.4 ounces or less. Liquids over 3.4 ounces must be packed in a checked bag.

If you’re bringing other liquids like alcoholic beverages make sure they are 24% alcohol or less if you want to bring it in your carry-on. FAA regulations also prohibit travelers from consuming alcohol on an aircraft unless served by a flight attendant.

TSA also allows one liquid hand sanitizer container of up to 12 ounces per passenger in carry-on bags until further notice.

3.) Enroll in TSA PreCheck

To make your travels stress-free and cut down on wait times, get your own TSA PreCheck membership.

In January 2023, 92% of TSA PreCheck passengers waited less than five minutes at TSA checkpoints nationwide. If traveling with kids, children 12 and under may join a parent/guardian with TSA PreCheck in the dedicated lanes.

Most new enrollees receive a Known Traveler Number (commonly referred to as “KTN”) within five days, and membership lasts for five years. The enrollment fee for five years is $78; online renewals are $70, enroll in TSA PreCheck here.

4.) Ask TSA before you travel. 

If you have any travel questions you can always ask TSA’s travel security experts over social media by sending a message to @AskTSA on Twitter or Facebook Messenger. Passengers may also send a text directly to 275-872 (“AskTSA”) on any mobile device.

An automated virtual assistant is available 24/7 to answer common questions and AskTSA staff is available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time daily, including holidays and weekends for more complicated questions.

5.) Arrive early and carry on kindly. 

TSA recommends Spring break travelers give themselves plenty of time to account for traffic, parking, rental car returns, airline check-in, security, and making any airport purchases before boarding a flight.

Preparing all of that before getting to the airport will save both time and stress over this already busy and stressful season.

6.) Be checkpoint ready. 

Arrive at the checkpoint lane with your mobile or printed boarding pass and valid ID readily available.

That way you aren’t struggling to find your ID in your bag when you are called and hold up the line for everyone else. When approaching the screening area, remember to empty your pockets and place your contents in a bin or carry-on bag. Those traveling without TSA PreCheck have to remove large electronics and 3-1-1 liquids from carry-ons.