I find myself learning something new about airports every time I go on a trip. (Well duh, each airport is different.) From my experience, below are the items travelers need to pay the most attention to:
Out of the items listed above, the security line is the biggest hassle. Why? Because it’s so unpredictable. Always fairly paranoid about missing my flight(s) because of a long security line(s), I use the MyTSA app to track security lines. Used on my last four flights, it’s an accurate indicator of what to expect the day and time you’re traveling.
To get through security quickly, be as minimal as possible. Avoid wearing accessories- jewelry, belts, hats, etc. and all liquids are in one plastic bag. Always have your ID out as well as your boarding pass before you get to the TSA agent.
Other life hack advice from a life hacker: to avoid delayed flights, book morning a flight(s) when possible. Yes, it isn’t pleasant to wake up at 3:30 AM to catch a 5:30 AM flight. But, missing a mid-afternoon or evening flight puts you at risk for losing a day at your final destination or being re-routed- we won’t discuss that. This is not “Airports: How to Deal With the Unexpected”.
Or, maybe it is.
Another problem I run into on occasion is connecting flights. I try to book nonstop even if it is a little bit more expensive. It causes less worry- if a flight is delayed, it is highly likely that you could miss a connecting flight, especially if you have to change gates or even worse, terminals. In most cases, airlines will compensate if it’s their fault, but who wants to deal with problems while traveling? In reality, we can’t control delayed flights- trust me, I’ve had my fair share, but if all else fails, check with the airline to see if they will compensate should you miss a connecting flight or inform an agent prior and see if there’s anything they can do to help out.
Give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport- especially if it’s an airport you’re not familiar with or you are in a foreign country and can’t read signs. Most airline carriers advise arriving 2 hours prior to departure for domestic flights and 3 hours prior to departure for international flights. For international flights, you must check in at least an hour before departure. If you don’t, they won’t let you on a flight. I saw this happen to a woman who was trying to go to Cancun- she checked in 30 minutes before flight departure and they vehemently opposed giving her a boarding pass. Know your carrier and any stipulations- it will save you problems when you get to the airport.
Know what terminal/gate you are departing from. Arrive a few minutes earlier than you normally would if checking bags. Most airlines now have kiosks that allow you to get a luggage tag fairly quickly and then just drop them off at the conveyor belt- but I’ve seen these exceptionally busy.
A last item of importance for wary travelers- assume customs could take anywhere from 1 minute to an hour. Have a general idea of customs requirements- what you can bring in to a country and what you can’t. This is probably the easiest part of navigating an airport. Well, besides the potentially long lines.
Follow my advice and you’ll end up in cool places like this.
If you have any questions, just ask me. I’m omniscient.
The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool. – Shakespeare, As You Like It