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Holiday travel at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport: What you need to know before you fly

Make sure you arrive early and allow plenty of time to go through the process of getting checked in.

CLEVELAND — Let the holiday travel season commence!

Cleveland Hopkins International Airport is anticipating 400,000 arriving and departing passengers to roam the terminal between December 17th and January 2nd. With that many people coming and going, it's likely to cause a few headaches for holiday travelers.

To help make your experience at CLE a little less stressful, airport leaders have put together a guide with holiday travel tips. The biggest point being stressed is to make sure you arrive early and allow plenty of time to go through the process of getting checked in. 

Planning Ahead

Make sure to arrive at CLE at least two hours before your scheduled departure. This will allow time for inclement weather, traffic, parking, checking-in and going through security checkpoints.

Before you head to the airport, it's a good idea to check out the official CLE website to get the following updates:

  • Status of your flight
  • Airline contact information
  • Status of airport parking
  • Status of the TSA Checkpoint wait times

Parking at CLE

If you choose to leave your car at Hopkins Airport, you have plenty of parking options: 

  • CLE Curbside Valet, $30 per day
  • The Smart Parking Garage, $20 per day 
  • The Red Lot, $18 per day 
  • The Blue Lot, $16 per day 
  • The Orange Lot, $15 per day 

Plus, if you are picking up friends and family at CLE, you don’t have to endlessly circle the airport! Park and wait in the CLE Cell Phone Lot located off State Road 237 South. Follow the blue directional signs for easy parking.

You can avoid parking and take the RTA's Red Line to CLE. The Red Line provides regular service between Hopkins Airport and downtown Cleveland via the Tower City Station. The trip takes less than 30 minutes and trains depart from CLE every 25 minutes for the majority of the day.

Helpful TSA tips

Once you get arrive at the airport, you need to get through the airline ticket counter and the TSA security checkpoint. Make sure to always have your government-issued ID ready to present at both areas. 

Here are some guidelines to help you navigate through the TSA security checkpoint:

Know what is in your carry-on bags and checked bags. Do not bring any prohibited items with you. Don't know if an item is allowed or prohibited? Here's how to find out: 

  • Send a tweet to @AskTSA 
  • Ask via Facebook Messenger: http://www.tsa.gov/ has a feature in the upper right-hand corner of the homepage: Can I bring my? Click there and type in the item. 
  • Download the free myTSA app, which has the same "Can I bring my?" feature. 

Many people travel with food during the holidays. Foods like cakes, pies and cookies are allowed through a checkpoint, but may be subject to additional screening. However, spreadable and pourable food items must go in checked bags (maple syrup, jams, jellies, preserves). Not sure? Ask TSA using the steps listed above. 

Snow globes that are 3.4 ounces or smaller and fit into the 3-1-1 bag can go in a carry-on bag. If it's larger, pack it in a checked bag. Not sure? The basic rule of thumb is that if the snow globe is larger than a tennis ball, then it should go into a checked bag. 

It's a good idea not to wrap gifts using tape. If the gift triggers an alarm, TSA will need to open it to find out what the item is to ensure it is not a prohibited item. Instead, it is recommended that you use a gift bag/unsealed gift box, or wrap the gift upon arrival.

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