If you’ve traveled by air lately, you know that the glamor days of riding through the skies and zipping through airports are long gone. With massive crowds, security checkpoints and overbooked flights, today’s airport experience can quickly turn into a hassle-filled scene that will leave you wondering why you ever wanted to fly in the first place. If you’re careful, you can minimize the airport stress and turn it into a learning experience in budgeting your time and planning. Here are a few tips to keep your cool before takeoff:
Wi-Fi hotspots at airports are convenient and allow you to chat with your friends and family, work on assignments and send emails. You can entertain yourself and play online games on your iPad while you wait. However, anyone around you can use the same signal to peruse your data files. If you use unsecured Wi-Fi connections frequently, consider subscribing to a security service, such as Lifelock, that will alert you to any unauthorized use of your personal information. Added peace of mind is always a plus, especially when you’re headed for some rest and relaxation.
It may sound obvious, but if you only do one thing to make your trip through the airport easier, allow plenty of time before your flight departs. Many things can delay your getting to the gate like traffic jams, long lines at check-in or at the security check point, or long airport corridors. Don’t start your trip by running through the halls, worried about missing your flight. Instead, add an extra hour to your travel to the airport time. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to the airport.
Dress and Pack for Security
Much to the chagrin of travelers, TSA rules and procedures change frequently. Even if you just flew a couple of months ago, it pays to review the current security rules and requirements online before you pack and dress for your flight. Something else to consider: a new TSA program allows passengers who are traveling on one of several US airlines from one of 16 airports to sign up for Pre-Screen check-in. This allows qualified passengers to go through a special, fast-moving line at the airport.
Get Seating in Advance
Having your seat number in advance not only saves you time at the check-in counter, but it lets you get your boarding passes at the curb when you check your luggage or at the automated check-in machines. What’s more: you’re less likely to get bumped from an overbooked flight if you already have seat assignments. Seating in advance also gives you the perk of choosing a better seat, making your flight all the more comfortable.
You don’t really need another vacation to get over your trip through the airport. With a little planning and and plenty of streamlined tips, you can glide through the terminal relaxed and unfazed and ready for the beach!