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Airport offers holiday-travel tips

By Maria Jose Subiria

msubiria@news-daily.com

With Christmas just around the corner, airport officials are bracing for some of their busiest days.

According to Katena Carvajales, media relations manager at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, today and Wednesday are expected to be the busiest days during the Christmas travel period, and airport officials are reminding passengers to keep a few things in mind as they prepare for their trips.

"We're wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday season this winter," said Ben DeCosta, aviation general manager at Hartsfield-Jackson. "As passengers prepare to travel to their destinations, following these simple steps will reduce hassles and create a more pleasurable airport travel experience."

Airport officials are reminding travelers to wait until they have arrived at their destinations to wrap their gifts, because they may be opened and inspected for security purposes.

Passengers traveling on domestic flights should arrive 90 minutes before their flight is set to depart, and travelers who are flying internationally should arrive at the airport two hours before their departure time, according to airport officials.

Passengers can also visit Hartsfield-Jackson's web site, www.atlanta-airport.com, to sign up for the airport's Trak-a-Flight service, which sends flight information to passengers' e-mail accounts or cell phones.

Travelers can check the availability of airport parking spaces by calling 1-877-ATL-PARK, or visiting the airport's web site.

Carry-on baggage is limited to one bag and one personal item, such as a purse, briefcase, laptop computer or backpack, airport officials said. When approaching the security screening belt, passengers should remove their coats and take their laptops out of their cases and place them in the trays provided.

Passengers who are renting a vehicle at Hartsfield-Jackson now board the ATL SkyTrain at the Ground Transportation center for a five-minute trip to the airport's new Rental Car Center, where the rental agencies are housed.

Near the Ground Transportation center, the airport recently opened a 1,000-square-foot dog park for those taking pets on a trip. Two dogs at a time are allowed in the park.

Those traveling by land this Christmas will see a slight break at the gas pump. According to AAA, the auto club, gasoline prices have declined 4 cents in Georgia and 1 cent across the nation since last week. AAA said Monday that Georgia's average gasoline price is $2.44 per gallon of regular unleaded, down from $2.48 a week ago, while the national average price is $2.59 per gallon, down from $2.60 last week.

AAA said gasoline prices have decreased, even as crude oil gotten pricier, due to frigid temperatures in the Midwest and Northeast.

"While the price at the pump generally moves in tandem with crude oil, there are occasions when crude can increase, but retail gasoline might remain unchanged, or even decline," said Gregg Laskoski, managing director of public relations for AAA Auto Club South. "In this instance, gasoline prices haven't risen yet, because even with a decrease in oil, there is still an extraordinary amount of inventory, with crude oil plus 11 million barrels, and gasoline stocks plus 13 million barrels, well above last year's levels at this time."