Getting through the airport can be a time-consuming process at the best of times. Navigating security, passport control and the inevitable human traffic are simply a part of modern business travel. However, by following a few guidelines you could significantly enhance your airport experience. Here are six airport tips to get you from the ground to the gate in the quickest possible time.
1. Pre-book your parking
Most airports offer an online pre-booking option if you are planning to drive and park. Use this to reserve your space in advance and cut down on time spent looking for an available space. Better yet, take the valet option provided by your airline or the airport and have it all taken care of upon arrival at the terminal which means more time at the lounge. Pre-booking also eliminates the need to line up to pay on exit.
2. Know the rules
There’s nothing worse than the airport security line, so the quicker you can get through this process the better. There can be different rules across different departure points, so make sure you are aware of the do’s and don’ts of what you can take through security checkpoints before you arrive. Some international destinations may also restrict certain items being taken on aircraft. All international flights from Australian airports and all flights to the US, from any departure point, have recently introduced requirements pertaining to carrying powders that will cause delays for travellers who aren’t across these new rules.
3. Dress efficiently
Going through security screening isn’t the right time to wear the biggest belt buckle or every ring in your possession. If you can do without lace-up shoes, heavy jacket or other such garments that require time to take off and put on, either pack them in your checked luggage before arriving at the airport or avoid wearing completely to minimise delays to your passage. Leave keys and valuables in jackets before passing them through the carry on scanner. If all else fails, simply step to the side and redress rather than do so in the line, other travellers will thank you.
4. Pack appropriately
Consider checking in electronic items not needed in-flight to avoid having to unpack them for security screening. While it may be tempting to keep them on you at all times, this will increase your time to work your way through security checks. Prepurchase appropriately sized plastic containers to store any liquids and gels that must fly with you. Many stores also sell clear toiletry bags that can pass directly through security, so you can avoid having to repack your toiletries into the ziplock bags provided while in line.
5. Go electronic
Nowadays the majority of travellers are checking in online before arriving at the airport to avoid unnecessary queues. For domestic flights, you are still required by law to carry a form of photo ID, however the required boarding pass can be stored electronically on your phone rather than being printed. Save these to your Apple Wallet or Google Pay to avoid misplaced passes and connectivity issues and preserve a tree in the process. For some airlines, loyalty members can also download their app to digitally access its rewards program or lounge, eliminating the need to fumble around for a card.
6. Maximise your loyalty program
Most airlines offer a loyalty or membership program for frequent flyers, just don’t spread yourself thin. Make sure you join a frequent flyer program and, if possible, stick to flying one or two chosen airlines to truly maximise your points balance and status credits. Status credits usually count toward your membership tier, with higher tier members benefiting from a variety of perks such as priority check-in in and bag drop, priority security screening and priority boarding. This is often accompanied with other benefits such as lounge access and priority seat selection, getting your further toward the front of the plane so you can make a quicker exit. Maximising your credits can get you through the airport faster.
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