Getting through airports is often a pain in the neck for a lot of people, especially when airports are getting busier than ever. The long check-in lines and airport security wait times can be totally unpredictable, leaving you with less time (often no time) to hustle to the bathroom or to buy a snack or a magazine.
The good news is you don’t always have to fly business class to make the ordeal end quicker! This post lists some tips and tricks to help you whizz through airports.
1) Check-in Online
While this sounds no-brainer, the reality is many people don’t check-in into the flights online. It takes just five minutes to check-in online and print your boarding pass, but doing so will help you save a lot of time at the airport. Almost all airlines allows web check-in up to 24 hours prior to the departure and many of them have apps to expedite this process. Better yet, airport security administration all across the world permits travellers to scan their boarding passes right from their smartphones and you can collect the tickets inside from the kiosk, avoiding the ticketing area entirely.
So, there shouldn’t be any excuse for not checking-in online.
2) Don’t Check Luggage
Don’t check your luggage, if you can. This is a bad practice for two reasons. First, these days a lot of airlines (especially the domestic and low-end airlines) charge for your check-in baggage. But, more importantly, they get you delayed while leaving the airport, as you have to wait in (first) the ticketing area to drop your bags and then at baggage claim. The delay can sometimes be quite long, especially in a busy airport or if you are flying a fully booked flight.
If you really can’t avoid checking-in your luggage, do it online from home. Just note the number of bags you are going to check, print the labels, and drop them off at the kiosk. Additionally, you can check your luggage with the skycap out front to avoid the queue at the kiosks.
3) Limit Your Hand-Luggage, When Checking a Bag
Contrary to what many believe, you really don’t need to take everything with you as you travel. For instance, there is no need to carry so many clothes; there are laundries all over the world. Besides, hotels these days do offer the basic necessities like shampoo, conditioner, lotions, hand creams, and hair dryers etc. Carry on only what you need.
So if you already have a check-in bag, limit your carry-on. After all who likes to lug through an airport? Carry things you need to access during the flight such as your traveling documents, some reading material, electronics and chargers, headphones, essential medicines, a travel pillow (for long-distance flights), and some necessary toiletries.
Additional tips: Carry a set of clothes and under garments in your hand luggage, in case your check-in luggage is lost or delayed.
4) Go for a Hassle-Free Airport Outfit
There are people who set off security alarm for just dressing wrongly and we’ve seen them often with utter disgust. Don’t be that person! You should have a go-to airport outfit to make your travel hassle free. Here, we are not just talking about clothes to make your flight comfortable, but also about the accessories. Avoid too much jewelries, shoes that are tricky to wear, and complicated accessories with metal hardware as you head to the airport. These stuffs are sure to set off every possible alarm and you will have to peel each piece to make through the security. This will not only get you delayed, but also everyone else standing behind you.
Go minimal as you air travel: a sweater or a jacket, a comfy pair of pants, and slip-on shoes are often enough to make your airport security experience more enjoyable. If possible, avoid wearing a belt. In case you are traveling with a lot of jewelries, stash them in your carry-on.
5) Know About the Airport Parking Situation In Advance
If you are driving to the airport, knowing where to park in advance can save you a lot of time and anxiety. Airport ring roads are often poorly marketed, making it really difficult and time-consuming to navigate through. Therefore you should scout out your parking options, such as which lots are open and their distance from the terminal etc. ahead of time, especially during peak travel periods. You can use a service like about airport parking to ensure that you definitely get a spot.
Many airports, update parking lot status right on their websites. Additionally, you can get automated telephone information from airports. These days, many airport parking directories and reservation networks allow passengers to reserve airport parking lots at better price. These off-airport lots too are worth considering as they not only allow price savings and advance spot reservation, but many also offer shuttle services to and fro, from the terminals.
While there are a lot many ways to get through the airport quickly, never forget the golden rule of “arriving at least 2 hours before the flight”. This remains true even if you have checked-in online. This is the time you will need for checking luggage (if you have any), getting through security, doing your last minute shopping, grabbing a drink or a snack, and walking to your gate. If you are flying over a busy holiday period or internationally, do allow more time for a smooth airport experience.
by Mattie Elsner
Mattie Elsner is a passionate globetrotter and travel writer by profession. When she isn’t on site at exotic locations you can find her blogging about travel hacks & tips, travel journey and everything about travel.