The Transportation Security Administration expects 40,000 outgoing passengers per day to be screened at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport in the days leading up to Christmas.
If you're one of them, here are a few tips for more easily navigating the crowds.
Use the departures doors upstairs — even for arrivals
The line of cars waiting to pick up out-of-town family and friends has been known to stretch all the way out of the airport and back to Interstate 195 on Christmas Eve and the other busiest travel holidays of the year.
To avoid the wait, here is the best airport hack, hands-down: Tell your college kid, uncle, sister-in-law, or whoever else you are picking up (or whoever is picking you up) to meet you at the departures drop-off area upstairs.
This might seem counterintuitive, especially if the arriving traveler is picking up checked luggage from one of the carousels downstairs. But taking the escalator back upstairs can mean skipping the dawdling lines of people craning their necks for their Aunt Polly and Uncle George, in favor of the significantly thinner ranks of those who are hugging their friends and relatives goodbye — generally a much less time-consuming task.
(Related: Uber and Lyft are required to pick up passengers in the upstairs departures area through Jan. 6 to “ease congestion on the lower level,” the airport says. So, whoever’s picking you up, upstairs is the way to go.)