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Bay Area airports seeing major increase with holiday travel now underway

Travel tips, amenities offered for Thanksgiving, Christmas travelers

The three Bay Area international airports in San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose are seeing major increases in passengers traffic as Thanksgiving week travel continues.

Airport officials at SFO expect 6.5 million passengers to pass through the airport through Jan. 2. That's up 5.7% from last year.

The busiest day is expected to be next Sunday as more than 160,000 people go through airport gates.

"The holiday travel season is about connecting people: bringing friends and family together to celebrate traditions and create new memories," airport director Ivar Satero said. "We're committed to make the airport experience an enjoyable part

of this process."

San Jose expects to see more than 400,000 travelers through Nov. 29, an increase of up to 15% compared to last year's 12-day Thanksgiving travel period.

The three busiest travel days there are expected to be tomorrow, Wednesday, and Nov. 27 and Nov. 28. Peak travel hours are between 5 a.m. and 7:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m. to noon and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

"Airport Department staff and our many partners are prepared to offer a safe, secure and efficient customer experience during the Thanksgiving holiday travel period," San Jose's Director of Aviation Kim Becker said.

"With the increased volume of travelers in 2016 due to new and expanded domestic and international markets, our team has added high-tech and high-touch amenities so passengers continue to have the best travel experience possible," Becker said.

Live musical performances are being offered during peak travel periods, officials said. Therapy dogs are also available to comfort travelers.

Three customer service robots known as Norma, Amelia and Piper ared offering directions to dining and shopping options at Gates 11, 21 and 25.

Airport officials encourage travelers destined for international locations to arrive three hours before departure and those bound for domestic locations to arrive two hours ahead of time.

The amount of liquid or gels that a passenger can carry onto a plane is limited to three ounces per item and all must be placed in a

quart-size re-sealable plastic bag.

More information about the latest security rules can be found at www.tas.gov/

Travelers can save time at security checkpoints in a number of ways.

The CLEAR product is available at airports. CLEAR offers a membership program, which provides expedited screenings. More information can be found at www.clearme.com/

The PreCheck program is also available at the airports. The PreCheck program is another membership program that provides an expedited screening process. More information can be found at http://www.tsa.gov/tsa-precheck/

Airport officials are also recommending holiday travelers take transit or a ride-booking service to the airport because of the expected high amount of traffic.

Travelers who drive are urged to allow extra time for parking or have someone drop them off. Parking availability on Thanksgiving and the day after is expected to be tight.

When traffic is at or near its peak, airport officials suggest travelers drop off their passengers first and then park.

Cellphone waiting lots are available at all three airports.

At SFO, more than 3.3 million LED lights will be connected by over 150 miles of wiring to light up the termnals during the holiday season. A public lighting ceremony will be held at 5 p.m. Nov. 29 on the connecting bridge between garages A and G.

Allison Levitsky, KeithBurbank, Bay City News.

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