People who claim that spending time at the airport is a joy are few and far between. Sure, there’s the excitement of taking off an a new adventure or meeting a loved at the arrivals exit, but there’s also the stress of rushing through to make your flight and the frustration that comes with crowds and bureaucracy. Thankfully, there are ways of making the experience more bearable – and that begins with saving time.
Here are 11 airport tips to that you can use to save time the next you fly.
Choose Your Airport Carefully
A major hub airport may seem, at first, like the best choice — they’re will be more staff and infrastructure dedicated to getting fliers through quickly — but a smaller airport can be quicker, and not just because there’s less of it — smaller airports mean fewer queues, whether it’s through security, in baggage claim, or at immigration.
Figure Out the Best Dates for You to Fly
There’s real value in flying on days that are less busy, but that’s something that can be unique to each airport. So a good tip to is to figure out the best days to fly for you and your trip. If you’re traveling to what’s primarily a vacation or a weekend destination — say, Las Vegas — it stands to reason that the airport will be most busy on peak traveling days with lots of people coming in Friday and going out Sunday. So could make sense to fly out on a Saturday morning, say, when you may have the airport and the plane almost to yourself. Of course, you’ll need to do some research, but some basic web searches with the location/airport and “best day of the week to fly” can dig the right information.
Try to Keep Your Luggage Carry-On
Yes, it’s a pain stuffing everything into a little bag, decanting liquids and carrying it through the airport but it’s worth it for the time you’ll save not checking it in, and not picking it up the other side. If you can’t keep it condensed, though…
Weigh Your Checked Bags at Home
Nobody wants to be the person desperately transferring t-shirts between cases. So a good airport tip is to weigh your checked bags at home to make sure you don’t push the limit. Not only will you save on embarrassment, you’ll save on the time as well.
Pack to Get Through Security
When you reach airport security, youll have to remove your electronic devices from your bag. To make things easier, pack your electronics in easy to access places so you don’t spend too much time going through your bag. If you leave an electronic in the bottom of your bag, you’ll waste time digging for it. Be sure to also double check regulations so you don’t accidentally pack something you aren’t allowed to bring. Look through your bag and make sure you didn’t leave anything in it. You should also be careful about toothpaste and hair gel sizes since those can get taken away at security as well.
Check in Online Ahead of Time
Many people forget how much time you can save by checking in online. This is especially true if you’re only bringing carry-on luggage. Simply go online or use the airline’s app to complete the check-in process the night before or morning of. This will let you either print your ticket at home or receive an electronic ticket you can use on your phone. This saves you time since you won’t have to use the machines at the airport to check-in, which can be frustrating to find and then wait as it prints your tickets.
Wear the Right Clothing
Dressing correctly is an airport tip that can save you a lot of time. There’s always a lot of time wasted to remove things like shoes, jackets, and belt buckles to go through security. So it’s best to wear the right clothes to get through through airport security. Whatever your fashion sense, your outfit should have as little metal as possible, to clear metal detectors without any problem. Pants that you can wear without a belt will be helpful. It’s also smart to wear a jacket with pockets that you can quickly dump the contents of your pant’s pockets into and effortless place to go through the x-ray machine with ease. And of course, you should wear slip on shoes that are easy (and fast) to take off and put back on.
Have Your Paperwork and Documents Ready When You Get to Security
Many people forget to pull out their paperwork and documents before they reach airport security. This includes your ticket, government license or whatever documents you use to prove your identity. Have them in your hand when you arrive at airport security to save yourself some time. If you don’t have your documents ready, then you’ll arrive at the front of the line and waste time rummaging through your things to find the proper items. This tip is simple, but it saves you time if you have everything ready when you arrive to the front of the line.
Try to Sit at the Front of the Plane
If you can pick your seats when you book your flight deals, get one that is close to the front of the airplane. By getting a seat close to the front, you can quickly get off the airplane at your next stop. This will save you time when getting to your destination or if you have a short layover to get to the next airplane. If you don’t get a seat close to the front and can’t afford to pay extra for one of those seats, look around once you get on the plane. If the flight isn’t full, you could ask a flight attendant to let you move closer to the front. That way, you’ll be first off, first through immigration (if there is one) and, if you’ve not checked in luggage, you can swing straight through the airport on the way out.
Go to the Bathroom on the Plane
Yes, airport toilets are normally nicer than the ones on the plane, but if you go before landing, you can go straight on to your destination once you disembark.
Get Out of There After You Land
With the fastest transport you can. If you’re hiring a car, try and be a member of the rental company’s rental club, which should save you from queuing to pick it up. If you’re debating between a train or a coach somewhere else, it’s normally best to go for the quickest option (normally the train). A coach journey may be a little cheaper, but you’ll regret it as you’re stuck in traffic getting into town.
Have your own tips on saving time at the airport? Tell us about them in the comments section below!