Air travel is becoming more popular than ever but security requirements are becoming more stringent both nationally and internationally. This means you may be flying more frequently yet spending longer times in airports than in the air which is frustrating and tiring.
Here are five tips that might help you may help to minimize time en route, avoid long queues and waste too much precious time waiting around airports. Even before getting to the airport, ensure you know the best route to the airport especially if you are in an unfamiliar city. Pre-order any taxi for pick up well in advance or check out Google maps and follow delays via GPS updates For more tips about a hassle free ride to the airport, check out our tips here.
1/ When possible, plan your travel for non peak times. Peak times are generally early mornings especially weekdays, or the beginning or end of public holidays. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturday night are off peak times.
2/ Travel lightly with hand luggage only. This may save time when checking in but definitely on arrival at your destination as you do not have to seek out or wait at luggage carousels for luggage to appear. It also makes sure no luggage is lost or delayed in any way.
However, make sure that your carry on luggage complies with the airline you are flying with; different airlines may have different limits on dimensions and weight. For good quality cabin luggage you can rely on check out different styles here. Take time to weigh your bags before going to the airport and make sure they are within the weight limit.
3/ Check in online up to 24 hours prior to your flight. This means you can choose your seat and will save time, especially if you do not have luggage to check in. It is not necessary to print out your boarding pass but it is a good idea as electronic devices are not always reliable. If printing is not possible, take a screen shot of the pass and save it so you don’t have to rely on internet connections.
Prior to flying keep checking your flight details regularly and register for any updates that can be sent via text messages or emails.
4/ Have your ID, passports, travel documents in easily accessible pockets to show as required. Make sure all your clothes are simple and metal free to pass easily through security checks. Metal buckles need to be removed, and it is best to put jewelry and watches in zip lock bags until you clear security.
Always wear slip on shoes that are easily removed and replaced – lace up shoes and especially boots, are very time consuming if you have to remove and replace them. Wear flat heels so you can move easily – store any high heels for arrival.
Keep your laptop easily accessible and on stand-by should security want to see it working.
5/ Consider joining programs like the U.S.A. T.S.A. Precheck program for a small cost. These allow for expedited travel without having to remove shoes, opening laptops, etc.
Always be direct, courteous and polite with security staff: be smartly and cleanly dressed, make open eye contact in a friendly manner. Don’t be flippant or use your mobile phone while queuing for security checks. Know where you intend to stay with the name of the hotel and address. If asked state the reason for your travel but rather than say “for work,” say, “to meet business colleagues and make contacts.”
Sometimes delays will be unavoidable so always be patient in such an event. However, as you travel more often, you will become more confident and familiar with keeping travel times to a minimum. The world is your oyster.