Before heading to the airport, make sure that all of your liquids are packed correctly. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) allows you to cary on liquids in 3 fluid ounce containers (or less) in a 1 quart resealable plastic bag, with a limit of 1 bag per traveler. For more information on the 3-1-1 liquid guidelines, visit http://www.tsa.gov/311/index.shtm.
If you are going to be bringing a laptop or other electronics with you, they must also be packed appropriately. Your laptop should be easily accessible. When going through security, you will need to place your laptop in one of the plastic bins for inspection in the X-ray scanner. There are also TSA approved, laptop friendly bags. For full details on the laptop bag procedures, visit: http://www.tsa.gov/press/happenings/simplifying_laptop_bag_procedures.shtm.
In order to speed up your security screening, the TSA recommends that you pack in an organized manner. The TSA has some guidelines for organized packing: http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/screening_experience.shtm.
And, perhaps most importantly, you cannot fly without proper identification. A full list of approved travel identification documents is available here: http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/acceptable_documents.shtm.
For most domestic flights, you must be checked in and at the departure gate at least 30 minutes before departure. Arriving at the airport 1 1/2 to 2 hours before your scheduled departure is recommended for domestic flights. And arriving at the airport 3 hours early for international flights is advised.
Most airlines offer online checkin as a convenient way to avoid long lines at the ticket counter. Online checkin is usually available 24 hours before the schedule departure time of your first travel segment. At checkin time (or even now), you may be able to select your seat assignment. I always check SeatGuru (http://www.seatguru.com/) before selecting my seats. The information on this Web site can help you avoid an uncomfortable flight. Some airlines also hold back "preferred" coach seats for high status frequent fliers. At online checkin time, these seats may move into the general pool and be available to you. If you check in exactly 24 hours before your flight, you may get a better seat!
Please double check with the TSA or your airline for any last minute travel advisories or changes to your travel plans.
See you at SIGCSE!