Not many people enjoy waiting in line anywhere, and it is especially aggravating when you have to wait in line at an airport. It is crowded, noisy and the lines seem to move at a snail’s pace. So, before you head over to the airport, make sure you are equipped with the best tools possible. One thing you will find helpful are travel applications for smartphones. You can get weather updates, airline schedules and alerts dealing with your flight(s). The best airline travel app on the market right now is TripIt. I have used it through my Google Play Store and was so relieved to be alerted when my flight was coming in early. Had I not had that app I would have missed my plane! In addition to this, and other air travel apps, there are five tips that will help you make the most of your airport experience without going gray from the stress and frustration.
Tip Number 1: Smart Check In
The number on rule is not to check your bags unless it is 100% necessary. Checking bags takes unnecessary time that could be better spent getting through security. Plus, if you carry all your property onboard there is zero chance that they will be lost. Unfortunately this happens quite often. Picture this; I am traveling from New York to South Carolina after visiting family. In the south you simply cannot get good bologna (as according to us Northerners at least) so I am carrying a pound of the good stuff in my checked bag. I arrive back in South Carolina just to find that my luggage has been “misplaced”. Two weeks later my bag is found, and in it was a log of stinking, rotten bologna. Needless to say, lesson learned!
Tip Number 2: Be Ready and Organized for the Security Check
Going through the security line is all about being organized and ready with everything you will need. While you are still a couple of people behind in the line, go ahead and remove your shoes. Have your ID and boarding pass ready to show. Make sure you have already measured your bag. If you have any sort of electronic (most commonly laptops) make sure that they out and ready for inspection. Before you even leave for the airport, make sure you are familiar with the TSA rules as to what you can have in your carry-on bags. This will save you and others a ton of time. If you have things in your carry-on that are prohibited you will be detained for further screening and this is something that you DO NOT want to happen!
Tip 3: Get Premium Tickets (if that is a possibility for you and your wallet)
Premium tickets give you plenty of perks, one of which is bypassing many of the annoying things others have to go through in order to make it to their gate. Since those who buy regular tickets are more than those who buy premium tickets, it means the difference between standing in a line with only five or ten people as opposed to thirty or forty. You get to board and de-board the plane before those with less elite tickets. Most flights even have private cabins for those with these cream of the crop tickets. If you like to travel in style and fly frequently, this is definitely the way to go!
Tip 4: Save the Fashion Show for Wherever You are headed to
If you have ever stood behind a lady wearing $500 Ferragamo boots then you have felt my pain. The bottom line is that when you are flying, the way your clothes look is nowhere near as important as being comfortable. If you are wearing some sort of high dollar fashion show on your body, it is likely that you will take longer than the normal person to get through security. You have to take off ridiculous shoes that take forever to remove. You have to go through the metal detector several times because your high fashion clothing keeps setting it off. Overall, it is simply unnecessary. I like to look good just as much as anyone else does. However, when I am flying I put on the most comfortable outfit I own; this is usually some sweats and a tee-shirt along with slip on sneakers that only takes seconds to pull off and put on. It is not just good sense, it is common courtesy.
Tip 5: Travel Early or Late
Getting a flight that leaves super early or super late will make things much easier on you. These are the times when the airport is less crowded so the lines are dead and you get to your gate much quicker. If you have to travel during peak hours or on holidays, get to the airport at least an hour earlier than you are supposed to arrive. If the tickets say to arrive an hour before your flight, get there two hours early, and so on. If you follow these tips you have a much better chance of having a semi-pleasant airport excursion!