With one of the busiest times of the year for air travel approaching, getting through the airport and onto your flight can be an anxious experience. Here’s 10 tips to make it as stress free as possible.
1. Check in before you get to the airport
Most airlines now allow you to check in online via their website or app. You can then have your boarding card either pre-printed or available on your phone. By doing this you can then skip straight to the bag drop desk at the airport or even better, if you only have hand luggage, proceed straight to security.
2. Download the airline’s app
If you’re travelling with a major airline, chances are they have an app which you can download to your phone. Not only can you check in using the app but it will also provide you with departure gate information and also notify you of any delay.
3. Pack heavier items at the bottom
When packing your wheelie hand luggage, pack heavier items such as shoes at the end near the wheels. This will make it more stable and less likely to topple as you weave your way through the sea of travellers at the airport.
4. Pre-pack your liquids
If you’ve travelled by air in the last 10 years, you’ll most certainly be aware that only liquids in containers under 100ml (3.7 fl oz) can be carried in your hand baggage and also must be placed in a clear plastic bag (which will be provided at the airport). You might not be aware though that all your (under 100ml) liquid containers that you wish to bring on board, must fit into this plastic bag and you can’t use a second bag (unless you give them to a travel companion who has space in theirs). So if you have an approved sized clear plastic bag, it pays to pre-pack your liquids at home before fumbling in line at security trying to do it. Your fellow travellers behind you will also be grateful.
5. Wear easy to remove footwear
When going through security, try to wear footwear that you won’t be asked to remove, such as light canvas shoes or trainers. Larger shoes or boots will almost always have to be taken off. If you do insist on wearing these, try and wear ones that don’t have many laces or buckles – you’ll be thankful you did.
6. Don’t wrap your presents
If you’re travelling with Christmas presents, don’t wrap them until you arrive at your destination. If security staff want to inspect them, they’ll undo all your hard work, and that also goes for gifts packed into your checked baggage. And no, they don’t provide a rewrapping service.
7. Arrive early
This one is more based on common sense but it’s still one of the best pieces of advice for air travel. You can get away with arriving an hour before a shorthaul flight but if you want to reduce the stress element, we recommend arriving at least 2 hours before (and up to 3 hours before a longhaul flight).
8. Have a hotel booking app downloaded on your phone
The vast majority of times everything goes as planned and flights depart and arrive pretty much on schedule like they should. Every now and again though, cancellations can occur for whatever reason, be it weather or technical problems. If your flight does get cancelled, the airline will endeavour to put you on another flight or, if needed, provide accommodation. It doesn’t hurt however, to have a hotel booking app on your phone so you can pick up a quick deal near the airport if everything goes haywire (such as snow closing the airport) and you need to get ahead of the masses.
9. Look for lines to the left
The average person tends to turn right when entering a building or new area so have a look to the left at check-in areas and the security section. Chances are you might find a shorter line.
10. Pay for an airport lounge
If your flight gets delayed significantly, it can be worth the money to fork out for the luxury of an airport lounge for a few hours. For the cost of a light lunch you can normally have unlimited time in a relaxed environment that provides complimentary wifi, food and drink (including alcoholic).
As always, if you have any questions you can email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can now also chat to our pilot chatbots, Charlie and Chuck. Just click the Facebook Messenger link below.