Let’s face it, heading to the airport is the beginning of a (hopefully) much-anticipated trip. But excitement often wanes when you find yourself inside the terminal, especially when confronted with unexpected delays. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or one of the 13% of people who’ve never flown before, here are a few airport tricks to get through the tedium and frustration.
And of course, make sure you are up to date with, and comply with, the latest safety regulations for air travel.
Improve Your Experience
For starters, wear comfortable clothes and shoes, especially if you have a layover.
Research the airport layout beforehand or download an app that can help you find the things you need or want. This will help during a tight connection – and prevent you from getting lost. Pack some snacks, so you don’t need to go looking for something to eat. And pack things you might need at the airport at the top of your carry-on bag, or in the pockets.
Airports are notoriously short on places to charge your phone. Packing a portable charger can save you from a flat battery during your trip. You’re welcome.
If you’re a frequent flyer, there’s most likely a comfy airport lounge with your name on it. Take advantage of the extra space, comfort and USB ports on offer there. Seriously, you’ve earned at least that!
Tips to Avoid Airport Stress
Nowadays, airports encourage online check-in due to safety considerations, but this has always been the best way to avoid a last-minute rush to claim your boarding pass.
Another bonus of online check-in is that some airlines allow you to change or choose your seat during the process.
Fighting through the crowds to hail a taxi, or waiting for an Uber to make it to you, is rarely all the fun it’s cracked up to be. Consider hiring a chauffeur-driven transport instead. There’s no comparison when it comes to limo vs taxi transport, and it’s worth paying a little extra for the convenience, time-savings, and safety of private transport.
You can beat the stress and delays going through security by signing up for a pre-check. A TSA-pre-check gets you through security checkpoints super-fast and you won’t have to take off your shoes. Most frequent flyers qualify for this privilege, which relies on the fact that you know the drill by now. All you need to do is sign up online, arrive for a 10-minute fingerprinting session, and you’re pretty much set for life.
TSA-pre-checked passengers spend an average of only five minutes negotiating airport security, so it’s worth the little extra effort.
If you don’t qualify for a pre-check, here’s a tip: choose the security terminal with the fewest attendants. Extra people on duty usually mean some of them are undergoing training, and that can cause unnecessary delays. Lines at the furthest ends of the terminal may mean a longer walk to your boarding gate, but that’s why fewer people use them. These queues often move much faster than those in the middle of all the action.
If you hate queuing (and who doesn’t), picking the kiosk next to the business class or first-class desks can help speed up your check-in. These kiosks have fewer customers, and the helpful souls who man them usually offer to assist people in the queue next door. That means quicker service times, shorter queues, and the chance you’ll be on your way faster.
Another way to speed things up is by weighing your bags at home. Not only is it the best way to avoid excess baggage charges, but you won’t end up hastily repacking bags that fall foul of the weight limits when you arrive.
Fly By Night
There’s a reason that flights at odd hours are cheaper. Most people don’t want the inconvenience or uncertainties of traveling late at night. When you arrive at the airport after 10 p.m., you’ll find there’s hardly anyone else there, so everything goes a lot faster. As long as you’ve made all your transfer and accommodation arrangements to suit your late-night travels, you shouldn’t have any trouble with late flight times.