Top Tips for Surviving the Airport
When you’re travelling, sometimes the airport can be the most stressful part of your journey. There are hundreds of people, queues at check in, the worry of overweight luggage, the list is endless. As a traveller and an airport worker myself, I have seen this situation from both perspectives. The airport should be part of the journey that’s also enjoyable as its still part of the experience of travelling and trust me when you master the airport you’ll be able to handle anything.
1. Be Prepared Before Departing
Before you leave home for the airport, triple check you have all your documents with you. It sounds obvious and self explanatory but in all the excitement of your trip it is sometimes possible to overlook a few things. The most common things you forget is simple things like your toothbrush or a toiletry related item but in experience I have seen it be passports, purses, various confirmation letters. One of the best things to do is to have a travel organiser that you can keep all your confirmation letters and passport etc in one place. Create a list of documentation you need to have with you and cross it off before you leave. Let’s call it your pre-departure check list.
2. Check Personal Details
Once you have checked in and have your boarding card in your hand, before you leave the check in area for security double check your boarding card and make sure that your name, flight number and date of travel is correct. It has been known that when passengers have similar names mistakes can be made and the wrong person checked in, it just makes it easier to rectify if it noticed as early as possible.
3. Arrive At Departure Early
I’d advise to go through security as soon as you are checked in and you have got your boarding cards as it’s very easy to get distracted and let time get away with you and before you know it your flight is being called and you don’t have the appropriate amount of time to then make it through security. If you’re like me and like a look through duty free and any other shops it’d be best to come to the airport a good bit early to give you the opportunity to do so.
4. Have Your Belongings Ready For Security
Before you go through to the security area you can prepare yourself to make the experience as stress free as possible. Take off any belts and pop them into your hand luggage along with any coins you may have in your pockets. Put your phone in your hand luggage also. If you don’t have one already, you will need to pick up one of the clear bags to put any liquids you have into Remember the rule is that no liquids over 100ml will be allowed to be taken through security so bin or drink any juice/water you may have with you.
Remove the clear bag from your hand baggage as they have to be out of your bag for security as does any laptops, Ipads or kindles you may have with you. I also recommend that once you have shown your boarding card at security put it securely away in your bag as I have seen often people put their boarding card loosely in the tray and when it goes through the security scanner, like some sort of black hole they seem to disappear and are lost.
5. Know How Far Your Departure Gate Is
Once you have passed through security firstly double check you have all your belongings. The amount of people I see who actually leave their bags and walk away without them is incredible. I’d suggest the next thing you do is check the departure screens to find out where your boarding gate is going to be. Depending what airport you are in the gate could be up to a twenty minute walk away from where you are at that moment. Most airports don’t announce the gate till approx 45 minutes before your scheduled departure time but the board will give you an idea of what time it will be displayed. Once your gate number is displayed the best idea is to go there straight away, this again reduces the risk of getting distracted at the shops and running late as no airline will wait on you if you’re late.
6. Avoid Drinking Too Much
Don’t drink too much alcohol. If you arrive at your gate a little worse for wear you run the risk of being refused travel. In my job as a dispatcher and one of the people who has to make the call of whether someone can travel or not, trust me it’s not a fun task. While obviously you’re not going to be penalised for having a few drinks it’s just to make you aware to keep tabs on how much you’ve had. Also beware of the side effects of mixing some medications and alcohol, I’ve seen from past experience passengers who have taken medication and then maybe only had one drink at the bar but the mixture of them both was same effect of that of having a few bottles of wine.
7. Help Is Always Available
Always remember that if you have any problems while you are at the airport most airlines will have a customer service desk before and after security with someone you can speak to. A good thing to do is have your airlines customer service number saved into your contact list just in case. Stay relaxed and try to look forward to your next trip.
By Karyn Hicks