20 Little Known Tips to Travel By Plane Easier – Airports, one of those special places that can be a mix of pure excitement, childlike wonder, and. . . unbearable stress, traveling can be fun and all, but most people wanna get through the airport part of it as quickly as possible. So here’s exactly how you can do that and save your nerves while you’re at it!.
1. Check your flight status
Imagine you have an early morning flight. You leave your house at the crack of dawn, rush to the airport, and head for the terminal. Only. . . you’re met by a long line of other passengers that clearly look annoyed. Yep, your flight has been canceled. Doesn’t sound like a good start to a journey, does it?, avoid the crowds and wasted time by checking the flight status online early and often.
2. Check the parking situation
Knowing ahead of time where to park and how far the open spots are from the terminal can save you a lot of anxiety on your drive in. So, check the airport’s website before you leave your house. A lot of them keep updates on the status of the parking lot or garage. Still, I’d recommend having a friend, relative, or taxi drop you off right at the front to save even more time.
3. Check-in online
Most airlines now have online, mobile, or booth check-ins. As someone who usually travels without checked luggage, let me tell you, this is a true lifesaver. You may print out your boarding pass in advance too, but most of the time, check-in agents still reissue another one when you check your bags.
4. Arrive early
Arriving at the airport at least 3 hours before your scheduled flight can help you manage things that might slow you down, like paying for extra or overweight luggage. It’s always better to have a couple extra hours of hanging around in the airport than being in such a hurry that you barely make your flight.
5. Don’t over pack
Of course, here’s one way you can certainly avoid wasting time having to pay luggage fees. A lighter suitcase is also a lot easier to tote around the airport and lift onto the security screening belt. A handy trick is to pack what you think you need and then cut that all-in half. Cut it in half again if you can.
6. Use a 4-wheeled bag
If you really must take a checked bag and a carry on, then get the kind that roll on 4 wheels. As you’re approaching the check-in counter, you can just roll them both on each side of you. Hand over the big one, and you can still roll the carry-on comfortably as you head to security. Forget about 2-wheeled suitcases – they’re a pain in the…arm…to maneuver, which means wasted time and energy.
7. Learn the airport layout
Airports in big cities can be huge. I’m talking, overwhelmingly big and easy to get lost in. Knowing ahead of time where each part of the airport is located – be it terminals, trains,security, or even just the bathroom in case of an emergency – is an under appreciated travel tip. The airport’s website or a special app that shows the layout of the land will help you with that.
8. Dress for the occasion
I’m not talking about avoiding high-heels and miniskirts – that should be obvious. Especially with me. What I mean is, wear clothes that’ll get you through the airport faster in ways you might not have thought about. For example, if you’re flying in the cooler months, a jacket with big pockets is key. That way, after passing through security, you can quickly throw your phone, wallet,and passport in a pocket before grabbing the rest of your belongings. Shoes that slip on and off are nice too. Just don’t wear sandals – airport floors are icky…
9. Have your papers ready
Don’t get up to the check-in desk, security officer, or boarding gate agent and THEN start digging for your papers. Have all your documents in hand before it’s your turn in line. Once you’ve shown what they ask to see, put it all back in the same pocket. You’ll need to dig them out several times as you make your way through the airport,so it’s best if they’re all in one easily accessible spot.
10. Remember the 3-1-1
Rule. If you don’t know the liquids rule, then learn it now before they stop you during security screening and ask to look through your bag. Any liquids you take with you on the plane must fit into 3. 4-oz containers. And don’t even think about squirting a whole bottle of shampoo, conditioner, or body cream into 15 different travel-sized containers. All your little bottles should fit into 1 quart-sized Ziploc bag. Check the security agent’s website for more details on what you can and can’t bring in your carry on.
11. Get ready for the screening
As you’re waiting in line to have your body and bags scanned by big fancy machines, start getting ready for the process ahead of time. First, look out for signs that say if you need to remove your shoes and belt. When in doubt, just start taking it all off. Get your liquids bag out and ready to throw in its own bin. The same goes for any electronics. Empty your pockets – ALL of them!Don’t forget about that pen in your shirt pocket. The body scanner will pick that up too!.
12. Join TSA Pre Check or a similar security service
If you’re traveling in or out of the US, see if you can apply for TSA Pre Check. Members of this program can get through security and passport control a lot faster than other travelers. Not to mention, Pre Check flyers don’t have to remove their belts, shoes, or light jackets. They also don’t have to place their liquids bag and laptop in separate bins.
13. Don’t argue with the security officers
If they ask you to throw out your trial shampoo bottle or leave it in a special storage room,just do it. Don’t go on and on about how the last time you were traveling, it was no problem. Each TSA officer has the right to demand that you give up whatever they deem a suspicious item. You can always just send the item by mail to any of your relatives or leave it in the special storage room and pick it up upon your return. Don’t argue with security – you’re just wasting time.
14. Don’t joke with the security agents
Technically, cracking jokes about having explosives or chemicals in your bag isn’t illegal,but that doesn’t mean you can’t get in trouble for it. And it’s kinda dumb. So, just don’t even try. The TSA doesn’t play around when it comes to doing its job.
15. Pick your flight wisely
It’s no secret that lines in the airport grow during the holidays and vacation season. If you can, try to plan your trip at a time when no one else is traveling. If you don’t have a choice, then at least avoid peak flight hours, like Friday afternoons between 4 and 8 pm. That’s usually when business travelers are heading home and leisure travelers are heading out for weekend trips.
16. Wrap gifts only at your destination
If you travel during the holidays and have gifts you want to take on the plane, make sure you bring them unwrapped. The security agents may ask you to remove the gift paper and show them the inside of the box.
17. Don’t slack on transfers
All these tips still apply even if you’re in an airport for a connecting flight. If the transfer is in a foreign city, make sure you know the protocol there. Some airports will ask you to go through security and passport control once again. Others require you to take a train between terminals. Before flying, check exactly what you must do while transferring, and make sure you’ll have enough time to do it!Short connections are nice, but they’re also a risky game to play.
18. Become a member of a Frequent Flyer Program
There are loads of benefits when it comes to joining a frequent flyer program, like a separate line at check-in. Some leading airlines have family check-in counters to ease the process for passengers with kids.
19. Use special apps on your phone
There are plenty of useful apps nowadays, be it a specific airport, airline, or a general travel app. Make good use of them since they’ll give you a heads up on things like your flight status, security line wait times, or open parking spaces. They also have tons of useful travel tips and other important rules you should know about.
20. Stay calm and focused
Finally, don’t forget how much your nerves can impact your experience at the airport. You need to be able to find signs quickly and read information boards to know whereto go and what to do. If your head isn’t in the right place, you could find yourself wasting a lot of time.
How about you?, can you add any other useful tips to help me breeze through the airport on my next trip?. Please let me know down in the comments.