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Holiday Guide

Flights, Bites, and Advice

Fort McMurray Airport Authority
BY Fort McMurray Airport Authority
(1 Vote)

Holidays bring excitement and cheer about family, friends and having fun, but sometimes the travel to get there can put a damper on the warm and fuzzy feelings. The holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year at the Fort McMurray International Airport (YMM), but that doesn’t have to turn you into the Grinch. We have compiled some tips that will make sure that your holiday starts off right.


No matter what trip you are going on, everyone wonders if they have packed too much or too little. Packing for a holiday or a vacation feels extra difficult because you want to be ready for any opportunity to have fun. This season, consider these ideas when filling your suitcase.


The 70/30 Method

Try to pack 70% of your items as clothes that can be worn for any occasion, and the other 30% of clothes for special occasions. If you are tight on packing space, pack items that take your day clothes and convert them into special occasion outfits. A simple tank top becomes great evening wear if the right shimmery wrap is added to the ensemble. A button-down shirt that was just fine at lunch looks great when a tie is added. When it comes to pants, 3 pairs should cover you, every-day-every-where pants that go with nearly every top are a must. One pair should fit in your special occasion category, and lastly pack something that is weather or activity dependant like shorts, yoga pants or ski pants. This 70/30 method is sure to help you make those tough decisions on what to bring.


Packing Pro Tip:

Save room in your suitcase by rolling your clothes. Or stop by a luggage or camping store and get the vacuum seal compression bags. These techniques can usually give you 25%-30% more space when packing.


Keep Gifts Unwrapped

Carry-on or checked luggage, either way your bags are subject to inspection by Canadian Air Transportation Security Authority (CATSA) and if your gifts are wrapped they may need to be unwrapped. Once you are through security screening at YMM Airport, volunteers will be set-up to help you wrap gifts travelling in your carry-on. Visit to see the dates and times when this free gift wrapping station will be available.


Packing Your Bags

The holiday season has everyone travelling with more bags. Make sure you know your airlines baggage requirements, as size and weight can differ between airlines. Consider the size of your carry-on bags; pushing the limits at this time of year can ruin your holiday mood. It’s worth having the right sized carry-on and have everything else in your checked bag. Pack the essentials into a carry-on, if you can get it all to fit into a bag that fits under the seat in front of you, you’ll be guaranteed not to be fighting for that last sliver of space in the overhead bin.


Seasonal Pet Policy

Many airlines have a seasonal pet policy that does not allow pets to travel during the busy days of the holiday season. Check with your airline well in advance to see what their policy is on your travel day.


Enjoy your airport experience

The holiday season is one of the busiest times of year for the YMM Airport, but by following some simple guidelines you’ll make your experience a merry one.


Arrive Early

Giving yourself plenty of time and not feeling rushed is key to making the most of your travel experience. During this busy time of year, it’s a good idea to arrive 90 minutes before your flight. Finding parking, plugging-in your car, getting your bags to check-in before the airlines cut-off time, grabbing food and getting through security makes for a lot of steps before your flight. Being early will leave you less stressed.


Parking Pro Tips

Before parking your car, follow the signs to “Departures” and pull up to the curb on level 2 near the doors. There is 15 minutes of free parking here. Doing this should give you enough time to get your checked luggage through the process and onto the baggage belt. Then you can just follow the road back around the loop and park your vehicle in short-term or long-term parking. You can decide if you want to be closer to the terminal building in short-term or save a little money and park further out in the long-term lot. Every stall has power that cycles through on a timer, depending on the temperature, so bring your car plug cord with you and plug-in.


Experience The Airport

YMM Airport with its wide-open spaces, wood finishes, public art, and restaurants all cater to making the customer experience worthy of the hard-working community the airport serves. With full service restaurants like Famoso Pizzeria and Earls Kitchen + Bar, or fast food options like Tim Hortons, Jugo Juice, Burger King or Starbucks you can get just what you are craving before your flight.


Shopping Pro Tip:

Last minute stocking stuffers can be found at Nicholby’s Convenience Stores or the Best Buy vending machine in the YMM Airport. You might even find a gift or two for yourself.


Flying with Food Pro Tip:

When you are pressed for time, grab your food to go and take it through security screening. Liquids like coffee, pop, yogurt and smoothies need to be under 100ml but solid foods are not a problem going through the screening process. So, take that pizza “to-go” the next time you are pressed for time.


Indulge Responsibly

You made it, you are on your vacation now. Enjoy it! Consider starting the festivities off with some holiday cheer from the festive drink menus at Famoso and Earls or a cold brew from Burger King, but keep in mind that you still have to get on your flight. If you appear to be impaired by alcohol, cannabis or other drugs you may be denied  boarding your flight. Enjoy responsibly and start your holiday off just right.