Thanksgiving Travel Tips

TULSA, OK –November 19, 2021 – Thanksgiving travel will begin this weekend and the airport is planning for an increase in passenger activity. On Wednesday, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration said it expects to screen approximately 20 million air passengers during the busy Thanksgiving travel period, which would be very close to pre-pandemic levels for the holiday.

 Key Notes and Updates:

  • Passengers should arrive 90 minutes prior to their scheduled departure time – keeping in mind the checkpoint does not open until 3:45 AM.
  • The Federal mask mandate is still in effect at the airport and onboard aircraft. Once you arrive at the airport and exit your vehicle, start wearing your mask. This includes on shuttle buses, in the baggage claim areas, waiting areas and any time you are outside your own vehicle on airport grounds.
  • The Department of Homeland Security extended the REAL ID enforcement deadline by two years. The new deadline for REAL ID enforcement is May 3, 2023.
  • Active loading and unloading is in place curbside. Drivers will not be allowed to park at the curb unless their passengers are outside with their luggage. Drivers can wait in the airport’s free cell phone lot while they wait for their party.
  • COVID-19 testing is available in the B baggage claim area for travelers holding a flight reservation within 72 hours before or after travel.
  • Tulsa International Airport’s on-site valet parking has recently reopened, after temporarily closing due to the pandemic.

COVID-19 Updates:

  • Janitorial staff is continuing current cleaning processes, and providing extra attention to high-traffic areas, including restroom doors, handrails, elevator buttons, etc.
  • We have increased the amount of hand sanitizer stations available, both pre- and post-security, and there are now 96 hand sanitizing stations throughout the terminal.
  • TUL has social distancing floor clings around baggage carousels, and throughout the TSA security checkpoint queue.
  • Passengers with a flight reservation within 72 hours before or after travel can book a COVID-19 test with an onsite lab at the airport. Alpha Xpress Labs is located in the B baggage claim. For more information and to book your appointment, go to https://testwithalpha.com/
  • As a temporary exemption from the 3-1-1 rule, TSA is allowing one oversized liquid hand sanitizer container, up to 12 ounces per passenger, in carry-on bags. Since these containers exceed the standard allowance typically permitted through a checkpoint, they will need to be screened separately. Please keep in mind that all other liquids, gels and aerosols brought to a checkpoint continue to be limited to 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters carried in a single quart-sized bag.

Before Leaving for the Airport:

  • Before leaving for your trip, check for international travel advisories and destination-specific COVID-19 risk. Refer to individual state, territorial, tribal, and local government websites for domestic travel advisories and information about quarantine or other restrictions.
  • Plan where you will park before leaving for the airport. Valet parking services at TUL have recently reopened. Passengers have three convenient parking options when traveling from TUL – garage, economy and valet. Passengers can expedite their parking experience by signing up for TUL Parking Perks, this parking rewards program allows for ticketless entry and exit in the parking garage and economy lots. To learn more about parking services, visit www.tulsaairports.com/parking.

At the Airport: 

  • The Federal mask mandate is in effect at the airport. Once you arrive at the airport and exit your vehicle, start wearing your mask. This includes on shuttle buses, in the baggage claim areas, waiting areas, and any time you are outside your own vehicle on airport grounds.
  • When approaching the security checkpoint, passengers should have their government issued photo ID or passport available. The TSA’s new Credential Authentication Technology (CAT) has been installed and is in use at TUL, which ensures ID authentication without the need to show your boarding pass at the TSA checkpoint. CAT does not eliminate the requirement for passengers to check-in with their airline or need a boarding pass to board their flight. CAT is linked electronically to the Secure Flight database, which confirms travelers’ flight details and pre-screening status, all without a boarding pass. Passengers should pay extra attention that their valid form of ID matches their name on their flight reservation exactly.
  • To expedite time through the security screening process, slip on shoes are recommended. Passengers not eligible for TSA’s Pre✓™ program should be prepared to remove shoes and jackets for screening.  All laptops, tablets, portable DVD players or electronic items larger than a cell phone must be removed from suitcases and placed into a bin.  Passengers should place keys, cell phones, pagers, and loose change in their carry-on bags before getting in the security line.
  • Travelers who have medical conditions or disabilities are encouraged to call the TSA Cares toll-free helpline in advance of their trip at 1-855-787-2227 to ask about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at the checkpoint. It is recommended to call 72 hours in advance of the trip.

Free Services and Assistance in the Terminal:

Passengers who may need extra assistance while traveling can utilize the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Lanyard program. If requested, the airport will provide sunflower lanyards free of charge to passengers with hidden disabilities. Wearing the sunflower lanyard is a discrete way for a person with a disability to make staff aware that they may need additional time, patience or assistance navigating the air travel experience. The program started in 2016 at London’s Gatwick Airport before expanding to more than two dozen airports, and TUL is among the first U.S. airports to join the program.

  • Airport Ambassadors will be available to answer any questions or concerns that travelers may have at the airport.
  • Welcome Waggin’ therapy dogs will be throughout the terminal greeting passengers.
  • Our Tunes at TUL live music program will have three performances during Thanksgiving week. All Tunes at TUL sets are performed at Gate A1. Schedule below:
    • Monday, November 22nd | 12PM-1PM: COMBSY
    • Wednesday, November 24th | 12PM-1PM: Desi & Cody
    • Monday, November 29th | 12PM-1PM: Charlie Redd

Aboard the Aircraft: 

  • Wear your mask aboard the aircraft, practice good sanitation, and maintain as much social distance as possible. Be sure to pack extra masks for yourself and your party in your carry-on.
  • Visit your airline’s website prior to travel to see their policies and procedures.

Arrival at Your Destination:

  • State, local, and territorial governments may have travel restrictions in place, including testing requirements, stay-at-home orders, and quarantine requirements upon arrival.

Returning Home: 

  • When returning to TUL, if a third-party is providing transportation, advise your driver to use the cell phone parking lot or park in short-term parking located across from baggage claim on the third level of the parking garage. Parking and waiting at the curb for passengers to arrive is not permitted. Vehicles parked at the curb must be in the process of active loading or unloading of baggage and picking up or dropping off passengers.
  • You may have been exposed to COVID-19 on your travels. Regardless of where you traveled or what you did during your trip, take action to protect others from getting sick after you return.

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