The world is global, and we are all travelling more- in spite of this, airports are often a mish-mash of odd habits, tired people not paying attention, and confusion. As someone who has flown a fair amount, in a wide variety of airports, I have gleaned a good amount of experience. I honestly believe that there could be an infinite number of posts on this topic, as there is no shortage of issues that arise at airports that you think would have been solved by this point in time. You can see my earlier posts on packing here and here, but in the meantime, let’s get onto the goods!
1) Pack Smart
You know that you are going to have your boarding pass and passport handy at a multitude of places, you know that you are going to have to take out any liquids and laptops going through security, you know that you might have to remove shoes multiple times. So, pack your boarding pass and passport somewhere that is easily accessible at any point- I have a travel clutch that I can carry while keeping them secure in order to have them out immediately if needed. Pack your laptop and liquids on the top of your bag so you can grab them and put them in a bin as soon as you get to security. No digging, or having to reverse the security conveyor belt because they spotted a hand sanitiser you didn’t separate like asked. When pack your carry-on, take the time to think of what will be coming out when, and reverse that!
1) If you have a mobile boarding pass, make sure your device is charged. Don’t hold up a line, and potentially a plane, because you wanted to be techy and stubborn. If you aren’t sure, get a paper boarding pass.
2) If you are wearing a belt, know that you will have to take it off for security. Arguing doesn’t help any of us; you will still have to remove it, and you’ve held up everyone behind you.
2) Be Organised
Airports are already a mess of chaos without you adding to it- take a few moments to make sure that you are organised. Make sure you have a safe spot for multiple boarding passes, and keep them in the order that you will need them. Check your gates for both arrival and departure, particularly if you have connections. Google a map of the airports you will be flying through to make sure you have a rough idea of the layout(s). I usually download a map of connecting airports to make certain that I will always have one, regardless of Wi-Fi/data. Have a digital copy of your itinerary saved in the email that you can access on your phone or laptop quickly. (It doesn’t help if it’s on your work email that you can’t actually access now.)
1) Print two copies of your boarding passes in cases of spilled liquids and foods, or potentially injuries. (I may have bled on a boarding pass in the past….)
2) Your gates can, and very well may, change. Pay attention to the gate boards or your airport’s website to make sure that you are still at the right gate. The sign at the gate itself often won’t be up to date with changes, but that is no excuse not to know.
3) Be Kind
Flying is stressful enough for all of us- a little bit of kindness can go a long way in the skies. If someone is running late and clearly needs to get to their flight, let them go ahead of you if you have time to spare. If someone is struggling with their luggage, offer to help. Move extra bins out of the way at security so that the staff don’t have to continually pick up bins, because they do have other duties. If your flight does get changed (I’m looking at you, DELTA- I don’t usually fly with them, but I hope that none of you readers were inconvenienced), remember that the individual that you are dealing with had nothing to do with it, and they are just doing their job. They are probably rebooking numerous people, and if every person is screaming at them, they will want to help zero people. As anyone who has worked in retail or customer service will tell you, we want to help nice people. We don’t want to help jerks. Go out of your way to say please and thank you, smile at someone, and help in any way that you can.
1) Be a decent human being, yo.
What do you find helps you through airports? Please share your advice and experiences below!