Traveling through an airport is not an easy task any longer. With a few tips, perhaps the experience might be tolerable. Navigating an airport is rarely ever fun, but it always tends to end up being much harder than it must be. From boarding the plane to packing your bag before you are even near the airport, there are plenty of small things you could be doing to make the experience through any airport easier.
Below are some common airport mistakes you are probably making and what we suggest you do instead.
The days of heading to the airport an hour prior to your flight truly do not exist any longer. Depending on the day and time you are flying, you never really know how congested the airport will be.
Crowds affect security lines, bag drop-off, passenger drop-off and pick-up, boarding, and even just how smoothly you can move through the airport itself.
A hint is that you are most likely to run into larger amounts of airport traffic on Monday mornings, Friday afternoons, and during holidays, but always try to give yourself a little extra time no matter what. In other words, arrive early!
Most airlines have a feature to check in for your flight online, and it is one of the best tools at your disposal when it comes to boarding.
If you are not checking luggage, it can save you time by helping you avoid checking in when you get to the airport, allowing you to head straight to security. For airlines that have open seating policies, checking in as early as possible will also help you secure the seat you want because you will be one of the first people to board the plane.
The security checkpoint is an unavoidable point in your journey through the airport, and there are many things you could be doing to make it easier for yourself and your fellow travelers.
As you may know, any liquids in carryon bags must be in 3-ounce containers, all tucked into one tiny, quart-sized bag. To avoid a delay through the security line, keep your bag of travel-sized liquids at the top of your luggage enabling you to pull the quart size bag out quickly.
Extra tip: Double check that anything you may need during the flight can be reached quickly as well.
If you are checking any luggage, make sure your essentials are not in that luggage. In your carryon bag pack all medications, jewelry, documents and any necessities just in case your luggage travels somewhere without you!
I know this sounds like your mom, but make a bathroom stop prior to boarding! Once you are on board you might not be able to use the lavatory as quickly as you would like depending on the boarding process and the time waiting to take off.
While dashing through the crowds, the security lines, and navigating to find your gate, stop and purchase a drink and snack for the flight. You are served a beverage when it is safe to do so in the air and snacks often run out…usually your least favorite sandwich or snack is what is left and available. By the way, bottled water is much cleaner and safer then what you will be served on board a flight.
When your flight is cancelled due to weather, no crew or mechanical difficulty, call the airline’s help desk. It is more efficient and less frazzled then the gate agent at the airport. Stay calm. They will get you on another flight. Did I mention stay calm.
These days flights are always over sold. Don’t accept flight vouchers immediately. They will continue to up the voucher price as it gets closer to departure time. If you end up getting bumped off the flight involuntarily, do not hesitate to ask for a cash compensation instead of a voucher.
As someone who frequently gets motion sickness, I always thought upgrading to first class would help in this situation. This totally makes sense… the bathroom is less utilized (less seats in first class), the seats are comfier, and the service is upgraded. However, none of these things may end up helping because sitting toward the front of the plane is actually more likely to make you sick. If you tend to get motion sickness in the air, save yourself some money and sit closer to the middle of the plane, where you are less likely to feel any dips or bumps along the way.
The quickest way to navigate an airport to is have a well packed carryon bag. If you are flying a regional jet as opposed to a cross country jet double check the carryon luggage that fits in the overhead compartment. Smaller is always safer.
Check the departure monitors prior to running to your assigned gate. Frequently, there are gate and terminal changes and time is of the essence. Do yourself a favor and check the flight monitor when you arrive at the airport and periodically throughout your time at the airport to make sure you are in the right place.
The key to a stress free and calm experience at the airport prior to take off is plan ahead. Give yourself plenty of time. Stay calm and proceed with a smile! Have a fabulous flight and a wonderful vacation.