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Brace yourself.

Jess McHugh
August 17, 2017

Airlines are bracing for a busy weekend of Labor Day travel, and passengers should get ready, too.

An estimated 16.1 million passengers are expected to take to the skies from Wednesday, August 30 to Tuesday September 5, according to trade group Airlines for America.

This year's expected number of travelers is up from 15.4 million passengers last year.

Anyone planning to spend their Labor Day weekend camping, on the beach, or otherwise traveling isn't completely out of luck, however. There are certain travel dates that are more crowded than others, and anyone traveling last minute can be aware of them to plan accordingly.

The heaviest day for travel will be Friday, followed by Thursday, and the lightest day is projected to be Sunday, according to the same Airlines for America release. Travelers can beat some of the crowds by leaving Wednesday or Thursday and coming back Sunday.

For people who have already booked their travel or can't take additional days off work, there are ways to assuage stress in the airport.

Invest in a more comfortable seat

Using SeatGuru, passengers can look up their seat assignment to see how roomy it is, and view its location in relation to outlets and other important factors. Changing to a more comfortable or strategically-located seat is one way to relax even in the chaos of Labor Day travel.

Apply for TSA PreCheck

It's too late to apply for TSA PreCheck if you're traveling for Labor Day, but the occasion is a good reminder to start the process. With PreCheck, you can breeze through security much quicker, while leaving your shoes on and not having to deal with the hassle of taking electronics and other items out of your bag.

Get there early (really early)

It seems like an obvious tip, but on busy travel weekends one of the only ways to alleviate stressful traveling is to give oneself enough time to go through long security lines without feeling panicked. Consider arriving to domestic flights two hours in advance.

Know about the TSA's new security rules

The TSA has changed and augmented their security rules earlier this summer. Most passengers will now be expected to place food, reading material, and all electronics larger than a cellphone in separate bins.

Get app savvy

There's an app for just about everything, and well-heeled travelers know to use apps to make the most of any airport experience. Use Lounge Buddy to find a place to relax and recharge, or download Grab to order an airport meal in advance if you're pressed for time.

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