Travel Tips by Alaska Airlines

Travel Tips

Whether you're heading out on a relaxing vacation, traveling for work, or returning home after a long visit, we know your time is valuable and we want to offer a few expert travel tips to help take the stress out of your travel day.

Before you leave home:

Save time and stress at the airport by taking these simple steps before you leave home:

Give yourself plenty of time.

Busy travel times can mean heavy traffic, busy parking lots and airport shuttles, and lines for checking baggage or to see a ticket agent. Allow yourself plenty of time to get to the airport and through security.

We strongly encourage you to arrive at the airport at least two hours before a trip within the US, and three hours before a trip that includes an international flight. View the when to arrive page for specific information about your airport ticket counter hours.

Be at your boarding gate and ready to board at least 40 minutes before departure. View more information regarding check-in & boarding cut-off times.

Know the baggage rules before you pack.

Help us safely get you and all of your belongings to your destination.

  • Label all luggage – make sure your name and contact information are clearly printed both inside and outside. Download an ID tag for the inside of your bag.
  • Keep your valuables (medication, cash, jewelry, etc) in your carry-on baggage.
  • Leave gifts unwrapped – all items are subject to security inspection.
  • The Transportation Security Administration has specific rules for carrying liquids and gels in carry-on luggage, in addition to procedures related to electronics. Become familiar with all their procedures, as well as prohibited items, by checking their website at www.tsa.gov/travel
  • Put items that must be separately screened at security at the top of your bag for easy access.
  • Review our carry-on baggage rules
  • Review our checked baggage rules

Be sure you have proper travel documents.

Don't let an expired driver's license interrupt your travel plans. By understanding what travel documents you will need to present before you get to the airport - you'll save time in line, and ensure a smooth start to your trip.

View the travel document requirements for:

Check in for your flight up to 24 hours early.

Check in from home - or wherever you are, using online check-in or our mobile app.

Check the status of your flight.

Track your flight or set up an alert, so you'll always have the most up to date flight and gate information.

At the airport:

Know your confirmation code.

Quick access to your Confirmation Code or e-ticket number will save time when you need to view or change your reservation online, over the phone, or at an airport ticket counter.

Tips for a speedier TSA security check line experience

  • Don't pack your carry-on bags too fully, as densely packed bags take longer to scan and screen.
  • Before you reach the scanner, remove your jacket, belt, larger metal jewelry and the contents of all your pockets, and place them either into your bags or a bin to pass through the scanner.
  • Wear shoes that are easy to take off and on, to simplify dealing with your belongings as you approach the scanner.
  • Once your bags and bin have gone through the scanner, pick them up and move them away from the scanner conveyor belt to a nearby bench or chair. You'll have more time to put your shoes and belt back on and return your liquids bag back to your suitcase, while allowing those behind you in line to more easily retrieve their items from the scanner, as well.

Save time in line

Both the TSA and CBP offer programs that give you access to expedited screening services.

TSA Precheck®
CBP Trusted Traveler Programs

Get mobile

Person checking in on phone app

Our mobile app makes travel even easier, with all the information you need at your fingertips.

  • Book your flight
  • Check in early
  • Check your flight status
  • Receive status alerts
  • Organize your trips
Learn more about our mobile apps for iPhone, Android, and Windows phones.