10 Top Tips For A Smoother Airport Experience
It’s pretty much a given that the airport is arguably the most stressful part of travel. There’s a lot to remember, with check in, security, boarding and baggage claim all to navigate. The pandemic has also changed things, and as more people want to travel now that we all can, this means some airports are extremely busy and staffing levels are struggling to meet demand.
But there are lots of ways you can achieve a smoother airport experience! To find out more read on…
Check in online
Who doesn’t want one less thing to do at the airport? Checking in online saves you the time and stress of doing it when you get there, and yet not everyone uses this option. Depending on who you’re flying with you can check in from the comfort of your own home often several weeks before your flight, so that’s one thing ticked off well in advance. Plus you’ll also know in advance where you’re sitting onboard. Many airlines allow you to choose the best way to carry your boarding passes whether that’s having them saved to your phone or, if you prefer, you can still have a physical copy to hand by printing them out beforehand.
Use hand luggage only
If you’re taking a short trip, it’s worth seeing if you can avoid putting your luggage in the hold. It might be a bit more cumbersome to carry it around with you in the airport, but it means if you’ve checked in online you can breeze straight through to security. And at your destination, you won’t have to keep your fingers tightly crossed that your luggage has made it with you. Instead, you’ll be free to leave and get your holiday started. Just make sure to check the rules of the airline you’re travelling with as they all have different requirements when it comes to cabin baggage!
Leave yourself time
This is especially important in these post-pandemic travelling times. Staff shortages at airports plus high demand from travellers has caused security queues the like of which we’ve never seen before. So make sure you get there in plenty of time but make sure to check your airline’s advice on this as you don’t want to get there too early! If you get through security quickly, take it as a win, and do some leisurely shopping or treat yourself to a nice meal. That’s surely a better option than panicking that you might miss your flight.
Stay overnight for early flights
Getting up in the middle of the night to get to the airport for your early morning flight can feel like a form of torture. For red-eye flights, staying at an airport hotel the night before can save your sanity. Yes, they know how to charge for those airport rooms, but what price can you put on a good night’s sleep and relaxed start?
Prep for security
With tightened security in recent years, we all know we’re going to have to remove our shoes, belt, jacket etc at airport security. So, make this easier by wearing shoes you can easily slip off and on, and remove your belt and any other items while you’re waiting in the queue. Similarly, we know we’re going to have to put any liquids in a clear, resealable plastic bag measuring 20cm x 20cm, so gather them up and place them at the top of your bag beforehand. Don’t forget – containers must hold no more than 100mls, although there are exemptions, such as if you’re travelling with a baby, so check with your airline before travelling, or take a look at the gov.uk website here. And electronic devices, such as laptops, tablets etc, will need to be taken out at security too.
Doing these little things can be the difference between a smooth experience and a high-pressure one.
Take the lefthand queue
This trick for the airport – or frankly any place where there’s queues, like train stations and theme parks – uses some basic human behaviour. We don’t realise we’re doing it, but us humans instinctively go to the righthand queues. We tend to think the lefthand lane is where everyone else goes, but instead everyone disregards that one and filters to the right. So take the lefthand lane and get through quicker.
Pack an empty water bottle
You can’t take a filled bottle of water through security, but you can take your empty re-usable water bottle in your hand luggage, and when you get through security, you can fill it up at the airport’s designated water stations.
Personalise your luggage
As the baggage carousel slowly splutters into action, everyone at baggage claim will push forward for a good spot so they can see their suitcase as it comes around. The only problem is, they all look the same. The answer? Buy a suitcase that stands out and is unusual, or simply tie a coloured ribbon to the handle of yours and look out for that. You’ll never miss your suitcase again.
This is especially useful if you’re travelling between the UK and somewhere warm. Airports are usually cool-to-chilly so having a lightweight jacket, jumper, or scarf, to hand is perfect because you can slip them on and off as needed, to help manage the difference between temperatures and keep you comfortable.
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