Let’s be honest, as much as we love travelling, that bit at the beginning, getting through the airport and onto the plane can be a bit stressful. So what can you do to make it all a bit easier?
Keep your documents accessible
You know you’re going to need your passport and your boarding pass so don’t bury them at the bottom of your bag! Keep them together with your itinerary in your jacket pocket or in the front pocket of your rucksack for quick and easy access. Even if you download your boarding pass onto your phone, printing out a hard copy is a sensible back up in case you get a flat battery or wifi issues.
Make sure you’ve allowed enough time to get to the airport and if you are using a taxi or public transport, re-confirm your bookings the night before. If you are driving, check on your route planning software to ensure that there are no significant road closures, roadworks or delays. If there is a choice of car parks, check out which is the best located for you and pre book if available. It can be worth parking off-airport, but make sure you get a transfer to the terminal and allow extra time.
Make sure you know what terminal you are flying from. Many airports have multiple terminals and at large airports it can take half an hour to get from one terminal to another. If you’re staying close to the airport, you may be able to drop luggage off the day before your flight to make getting around much easier on your day of travel.
Check in online 24 hours before you travel and save yourself time in the airport.
There’s every chance that you will need to queue, at check-in, at bag drop, at security and at the gate. Yes it’s frustrating, but it’s the same for everyone, and it’s only really a problem if you’re running late. Have everything ready, listen to the questions you are being asked and answer them quickly and sensibly, and…
Don’t try to be a comedian!
Seriously, when you’re asked if you’re carrying drugs or guns, or if you’ve been a member of a terrorist organisation, don’t take that moment to do your audition for the Edinburgh Festival. Airport workers take security VERY seriously and they ask their questions for a reason. It’s highly unlikely they won’t have heard your witty response before, and even more unlikely that they will find it funny. Similarly don’t joke about having a bomb in your pants or your shoe as you’re in the security line – just remember that if you had, you wouldn’t be the first!
Watch what you wear
Being comfortable when travelling always makes the experience better, so dress in loose clothing and if you want to make getting through security easier, don’t wear a belt, metal watch or jewellery, but do wear slip on shoes and put your jacket in your carry-on bag.
Remember that some countries have dress standards that you must observe. Be aware of any potential offensive slogans on T Shirts, dress modestly when flying to the middle-East and never wear camouflage prints if you are travelling to the Caribbean – you will be asked to change before being allowed on the flight.
Wherever you’re going, don’t wear sunglasses in the airport – they draw attention to you and make you look suspicious.
One way to avoid stress at the airport is to get checked in early, treat yourself to a bit of retail therapy and then sit in a bar or airport lounge for a few drinks. It’s a good plan, but do be careful how much you drink. If you draw attention to yourself by drinking too much, you may be refused permission to fly. Airlines consider drunk passengers to be a risk to safety and are well within their rights to refuse to allow you to board or to off load you.
Enjoy your flight!
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