Tips for Making the Airport Experience More Streamlined
Airports are busier and seemingly less efficient than ever and it seems like airline employees and TSA agents wake up on the wrong side of the bed sometime. As much as most people love their vacations, the toughest part of the journey can be simply surviving the airport experience. Here are 7 suggestions to eliminate hassles at the airport and keep that blood pressure at a safe level. Don't forget to pack your patience and sense of humor in your carry-on since they won't weigh a thing!
1. Sign up for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry This is the best recommendation for anyone who travels more than once a year, especially if that travel is International. Breezing through security at over 130 US airports is fabulous, but it's particularly important when returning back to North America with those Global Entry kiosks. It can save you a lot of time! 2. Check your Flight Status Surprisingly, very few people actually do this. A quick glance at your airline app or on the airline website can save you a lot of hassles. You can find out if the flight is still predicted to be “on time” or not. You can even check for last-minute seat switching options in just a couple of minutes. If you have an app on your phone, it is smart to re-check it at the airport before you leave your car in the parking garage or with the valet. Most airlines will also text you flight status updates if you sign up on their websites. Load the toll-free numbers to your airline, travel insurance company and travel advisor into your cell phone so that you can quickly reach someone if there is a flight delay/cancellation. While everyone else is waiting in line at the gate, you can have someone on the phone working on your behalf to fix the issue. 3. Check-In Online Especially if you are NOT checking any bags, this can save you a heap of time. You can avoid the whole kiosk/counter zoo at the airport when you arrive. Just check the monitors to find out what gate your flight is using and proceed to the security line. Also, some airlines may take your reserved seat assignment away if you have not checked-in prior to the flight, especially on a highly overbooked flight. Don’t take that chance! 4. Prepare your Documents Before you get in line to check-in at the airport, be sure you have all the items and documentation you will need at the ready. That includes your driver’s license or passport, your boarding pass from your online check-in (or confirmation code) and credit card if you are paying to check any luggage. 5. Weigh your Luggage If you suspect that your bag might be overweight, find out BEFORE you reach the drop-off point. Many airports have installed scales in the check-in areas or you can always use your home bathroom scale, if you have one. That way, you can leave a couple of things behind that you likely won't need anyway, or transfer heavy items from your checked bag to the carry-on. And, at the same time, avoid expensive overweight baggage fees. 6. Survive Security Screenings Stow everything in your carry-on except for your ID and boarding pass…and that includes your phone (unless you are using it for an electronic boarding pass), your keys, wadded up cash, etc. When you hit those airport bins, quickly remove your shoes, take your laptop and toiletry bag out of your carry-on and place them in the bins. (Unless you're TSA and the signs have indicated there's no need for you to do this, of course.) Place your carry-on directly on the belt …take a deep breath, smile and proceed. It will be over before you know it. 7. On The Other Side Once you're through Security, double-check that you have everything and then check the departure monitors to make sure your gate hasn’t changed. Walk directly to your gate to make sure everything is still accurate and on time. Then you can venture off to get something to eat/drink and visit the restroom. Or enjoy that airport lounge if you've invested in that little perk or have earned it with your business or first class status. Check on your flight periodically to ensure there are no last-minute announcements like gate changes or delays. Whew! Travelling can be a chore, but if you keep your cool and follow these tips, it'll be so much easier!