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Flying at ABIA? What to Pack, Where to Park, and Other Essential Travel Tips

published on December 9, 2012

Austin Bergstrom travelThe Austin-Bergstrom International Airport has enjoyed a record 32 consecutive months of passenger growth. What does this mean for 2012-2013 holiday travelers leaving or arriving in Austin, Texas? Be prepared! These helpful ABIA travel tips will help you get to your destination on time by knowing what to pack in your carry-on, what to wear, where to park or be dropped off, how to proceed quickly through security, where to eat in the terminal, and much more!


  • Remember the 3-1-1 rule: Any carry-on liquids must be in 3.4 ounce (100ml) bottles or smaller; all bottles must fit in 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag; and only 1 bag of bottles per traveler.
  • Larger liquids. Medications, baby formula and food, and breast milk are allowed in reasonable quantities exceeding three ounces, and are not required to be in the zip-top bag. You must declare these items for inspection at security. Officers may need to open these items to conduct additional screening.
  • If you plan to use a laptop on the plane, label your laptop on the bottom with a business card or other identification to avoid loss or accidental “exchange” at security.
  • Gifts. Leave gifts unwrapped for easier inspection.
  • Leave any carry-on water bottles empty. Full water bottles are not allowed through security. Empty bottles are acceptable and can be filled in the terminal after the security screening is complete.
  • Remove all items that cannot pass through a security screening from pockets, purses, and carry-on, including metallic and non-metallic items (valuables, weapons) and place in a plastic, zip-top bag in your baggage, or it will need to go into a bin for screening.
  • Avoid over-packing. The airport security screener should be able to easily reseal your bag if it is opened for inspection. Check with your airline for maximum weight limitations.


  • Comfortable Clothing: Wear comfortable clothing. Temperature can fluctuate dramatically during travel. Pack items like a sweater, gloves and socks in your carry-on if you tend to get cold. If you tend to get warm in flight, wear removable, breathable outer layers.
  • All footwear must be removed and put directly on the belt to go through the x-ray machine, so wear easy to remove footwear for faster screening.
  • Pack all coats and jackets in baggage when possible. All coats and jackets must go through the X-ray machine for inspection.
  • Head Coverings: Travelers are permitted to wear head coverings and religious garments during the screening process. They may be directed to additional screening if the headwear or clothing (religious or otherwise) is loose fitting, or large enough to hide prohibited items.


  • Metal: Keys, loose change, jewelry, cuff links, metal hair barrettes, metal belt buckles, mobile phones, pagers, and personal data assistants (PDAs) will have to be removed and screened separately at security.
  • Underwire bras: May result in additional screening. Gel-filled bras are permitted through security screening and aboard aircraft.
  • Body piercings: May result in additional screening, including a pat-down. If selected for additional screening, passengers may ask to remove their body piercing in private.
  • Bulky sweater/sweatshirt or a long skirt: Additional screening may be required
  • Tight clothing. Tight clothes and shoes restrict blood flow in the already-confined space of an airplane seat, and can cause medical problems. Tip: Wear loose-fitting, natural, breathable fabrics (cotton and linen are great choices).
  • High heels: Heels can be restrictive and don’t facilitate running to catch your plane, or a quick exit in case of emergency. Tip: Consider slip-on or disposable shoes.
  • Perfume or cologne: Odors are intensified on a plane, where passengers are cramped in close quarters, and air is recycled throughout the cabin. Some people are allergic to perfume and cologne, so please be considerate.
  • Offensive clothing: Airlines have a contract of carriage, and some include the right to refuse to transport, or remove from the aircraft at any point, any passenger whose clothing is lewd, obscene, or blatantly offensive.


  • Put your ID, credit card and boarding pass (if applicable) in an easily accessible part of your wallet or bag.
  • Check with your airline to learn which items may be exempt from the one-piece carry-on limit, like child safety seats, medical devices (canes, crutches, etc.), coats, and hats.
  • Check with your airline to make sure your carry-on bag meets the airline’s size restrictions.
  • Travelers may call TSA Cares toll free at 1-855-787-2227 with questions about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at the security checkpoint.
  • Check your flight status.


  • Arrive at the airport for check-in two hours before any flight. Please note that the first security checkpoint at ABIA opens at 4 a.m.
  • If you are being dropped off at the ABIA airport, have your driver follow the signs to the passenger drop-off and ticketing (upper) level. Look for blue signs at the terminal indicating where the various airline counters are located (many of the airlines have curbside check-in for passenger convenience). Parking and unattended vehicles are NOT allowed. The terminal curb side is for active loading and unloading only.
  • Parking at ABIA? Click here to learn about options and prices. Be sure to WRITE DOWN where you parked in a place you can easily find it when you return. Tip: Use your cell phone to take a picture of the aisle where you parked.


  • Think before you speak. Belligerent behavior, inappropriate jokes, and threats will not be tolerated. They will result in delays, and possibly missing flight departures. Local law enforcement may be called as necessary.
  • Stow everything except your ID and boarding pass in your carry-on baggage.
  • Remove all items from pockets (metallic and non-metallic items such as keys, wallets, and jewelry) and place in a separate bin for screening.
  • Technology: Have your laptop, cellphone, video game console, DVD player, or camera ready to be put in a bin, or on the conveyer.
  • Larger liquids. Prepare to declare any large carry-on liquids. (Remember: medications, baby formula and food, and breast milk are allowed in reasonable quantities exceeding three ounces and are NOT required to be in the 1-quart, zip-top bag.) Officers may need to open these items to conduct additional screening.
  • Pets. Please remove all animals from their carrying cases and send the case through the X-ray machine. Hold your pet in your arms, and proceed through the metal detector. Click here for more tips on traveling with pets.
  • Children. Please take infants and children out of baby carriers and strollers, and take them through the metal detector. Strollers and baby carriers go through the X-ray machine along with your bag. If possible, collapse the stroller before arriving at the metal detector.


  • Shop, dine, relax and keep it local! ABIA features some of the best Tex-Mex, barbecue, and all-around good eatin’ there is, and all merchants are local.
  • Music in the Air: Austin is the Live Music Capital of the World, and there’s “Music in the Air” the minute you step into the terminal. Catch local musicians featured at one of ABIA’s six venues Monday through Friday!
  • Deep in the art of Texas! Did you know the ABIA concourse is also an art gallery? Throughout the terminal, exhibits showcase the unique, insightful, and delightful work of local Austin artists, while reflecting the spirit of the city.

free parking abia8. PICK-UP FROM ABIA

  • Have drivers take advantage of the Free Cell Phone Lot. Is someone picking you up at the airport? No need to circle the airport! At the Free Cell Phone Lot, drivers can park and relax until you call. This special parking lot is located at 2801 Spirit of Texas Drive.
  • Drivers picking up passengers from ABIA should follow street signs to the baggage (lower) level of the airport. The curb side is for active loading and unloading only. Parking and unattended vehicles are NOT allowed.

Good luck, and safe travels! Regent Property Group hopes these helpful travel tips from the City of Austin give readers a wonderful travel experience in the Live Music Capital of the World! Are you here searching for an Eanes ISD home in Barton Creek or Barton Creek West? In Austin, the REALTORS® at Regent are the best at helping home-buyers navigate the real estate market.

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