Have you ever had to make the frantic run through the airport? Have you had to unpack and repack your bag at security because the snotty guard thought it might weigh too much? I don’t know about you but my least favourite part of a holiday (except the coming home) is having to traipse through the check-in desk, security and the endless miles of Duty Free shops. There are things you can do to make this whole experience a lot quicker, and a lot more ‘enjoyable’ (enjoyable in quotations because who really finds airports enjoyable).
1. Check-in online.
If your airline offers it, check in online. All that queuing at the desk is something that you don’t have to put up with these days. Most major airlines allow you to check in online and, if you have hold luggage, you can simply hand it over at the one of the drop in desks and move merrily on your way to security. EasyJet’s online check in is really simple and you can even download your boarding pass onto your smartphone (great for people like me who hate wasting paper). Make sure you check the time of your bag drop off point before you go though as it often closes two hours before the flights. HOWEVER, don’t presume that because you’ve checked in online you can swan into the airport 20 minutes before your flight, you never know how long security will take.
2. Pack hand luggage wisely.
If you go away regularly you’ll probably already have one of the plastic bags you need to put your liquids in (no ore than 100ml bottles remember!), if not, most of the time you will be supplied one free of charge. If you have one at home that you think will be suitable it can be no more than 20cm x 20cm, and although it’s not strictly enforced at all airports, I have had a slightly larger one taken off me at Liverpool Airport, even after using it to fly to other destinations, causing a huge kerfuffle in the line and a very red face. If you don’t already have a bag, have your liquids stored close to the top in an easy to reach place so you’re not fumbling through your belongings to find all of them.
You now have to place all large electrical items in the x-ray tray as well. This includes hair straighteners, curlers, laptops, phones, cameras etc. Have them in an easy to reach place, or even get them out before you reach the front of the queue, this way you can just dump them and head straight through the metal detectors.
3. You don’t need anything from Duty Free
Trust me on this one. Unless you’ve got something specific in mind, or if they’ve got the two 1 litre bottles of spirits for £22 offer on, you really don’t need that bottle of perfume that’s £4 cheaper than in Boots. It isn’t that much of a price save these days. Just bypass it all, and head straight for the bar or a cafe.
4. Keep an eye on the departure board
This one seems too obvious to be true right? If you’re in a large group on a lads holiday, it can be far too tempting to go straight for the pints and not bother looking up again until 10 minutes before your flight. But seriously, if you keep an eye on your flight number and make a note of a) when your gate opens and b) what gate it is, when it comes to boarding, youll have already sussed out which way to go and probably how long it will take you to walk there (if the airport is nice enough to put up estimated walking times signs).
5. You don’t need to queue for boarding
I know. It’s really tempting. One person stands up and smugly brushes up against the barrier, then another family joins them and before you know it there’s a line consisting of all the passengers. They do realise the plane doesn’t have a cut off point? It is so very rare that they have over booked the flight, there is no need to push your way to the front of the queue. Admittedly, if you know you have a window seat, it may be best to try and get on before other flyers in your row to save the hassle of making them stand up, but chances are you are sat with people you know and you will all board together. You can sit back and wait until it looks far less stressful up there. Plus, added bragging rights if you’re the last one on the plane. Don’t ask me why, that’s just the way it is.
So, there’s my favourite tips. Or at least, the main things I do when beginning or ending my trip (after learning from my own mistakes! I have definitely not heeded these on a couple of occasions…), give them a go next time you’re heading away. They sound simple and obvious but you never know when those few minutes could save you from missing your flight!
Any more top tips? Comment below and let people know your way of making the airport life that little bit easier.