Surviving the Airport

Posted on 12/21/2016

Everyone looks forward to their holidays but if that holiday includes travelling by plane, there is often grumbling about the airport experience.

There are some things that a traveller can do to make that experience less stressful. Check the departure time of your flight the day before travel as well as before you leave for the airport. Schedule changes are common occurrences and flights that were purchased long in advance often have multiple time changes or flight number changes before departure. If your flight has been delayed, there is no sense in sitting at the airport. If you download the airline’s apps for your Smartphone, you will get messages about delays or gate changes.

Most airlines allow you to check in online twenty-four hours in advance of your flight. If you had not pre-selected your seats, you have the opportunity to change the seats assigned by the airline. You can also print or send your boarding pass to your smartphone. This way you might be able to avoid using the airport check-in kiosks unless you also must print baggage tags
before going to the baggage drop. The cut-off for baggage drop is one hour prior to flights. Being in the line an hour before the flight does not guarantee that you will be allowed to board, so ensure that you arrive at the airport in sufficient time.

If you travel with carry-on only, you can avoid the $25 fee for a checked bag as well as the long lines at the airport if you have also checked in on line. With your boarding pass printed or on your phone, you simply need to be at the boarding gate at least 30 minutes before departure. You will be called to the desk in the boarding lounge to have your ID checked before
your flight.

If you are travelling with checked bags, make sure that you know the allowed weight and dimension of the bags. The fees for second bags or over weight/over sized bags are very steep and would get your vacation off to a bad start. Leave some room in your bags for any souvenirs you might buy while away. Remember too that your suitcase and contents will take on moisture from the humidity of a warm destination and will add to the weight on your return home.

Be prepared when going through security. If you are travelling to the US, shoes need to be removed so wearing something that slips on and off easily is a better choice than shoes with laces. You will need to remove your jacket, so put any items from the pockets of your pants into your jacket pockets before you get to the front of the line. Laptop computers must be taken
out of their bags, but iPads and tablets can stay in them. Any liquids or gels that you are taking in your carry-on must be in a one litre clear plastic bag and should be placed on top of your bag. No single item can be larger than 100 ml.

Being prepared and allowing yourself sufficient time to check-in and clear customs and/or security will help get your holiday off to a great start.