It’s exciting to plan a trip to somewhere you’ve never visited before. However, it can be also a little bit scary and overwhelming if you haven’t flown in a very long time. Times change and so do airports and TSA screening regulations. Read further for a few tips on how to negotiate the airport experience more calmly and easier. Here are ten useful tips that will guarantee you a smooth trip on your way to your next destination!
Preparing for Your Trip
- If you’re traveling alone, it’s ideal to pick the seat on the aisle. Sure it’s nice to be seated by the window, but you can skip that whole awkward getting up to go to the bathroom encounter with the passenger next to you if you’re already sitting on the aisle seat.
Experts say the safest seating on-board is the exit aisle in the back of the airplane. It’s the farthest from impact and explosive fuel. (Just in case you were wondering.)
- Airlines typically send out check-in reminders 24 hours before your flight departs. It’s important to confirm as soon as possible so that you may get priority in boarding or be put in one of the first passenger boarding groups. This will help to store your carry-on bag closer to your seat. The benefit here is you keep an eye on your belongings and it will be easier grab your bag when you deplane.
- Before traveling email yourself your important bank and credit card contact information. In case you lose your wallet or have your items stolen, you have the bank contact numbers handy.
- Make a checklist ahead of time of all the items you need to pack in your carry-on and checked bag. Emphasize on the little things like a portable charger, earphones, and glasses etc. These are the convenience things you’ll use daily and don’t want to be without. (You’d be surprised how many people forget these small items at home.)
- Check the TSA website for regulations regarding what can be carried on board in your carry-on bag. Do you know the 3-1-1 rule for liquids? And what about shoes and belts? You may have to remove them to go through screening so choose your travel wardrobe wisely like shoes you can slip off and on quickly, pack your lace-ups. So step one check the TSA website for latest rules before you pack.
At the Airport
- Research your destination airport, especially if you’ve never been there. Airports like Dallas, LAX, or JFK can be confusing, and if you’re in a rush to get to a connecting flight, you might be able to get on a Skylink (bus or rail) to your next gate quicker.
- No matter what you do make sure you get to the airport at least one hour before your departure time for domestic flights. You never know what kind of delays (like long TSA lines) there could be, so it’s better to be early than late and miss your flight. Contact the airline for their recommendation on what time to arrive.
- If you are running late, don’t bother using a kiosk or seeing a check-in agent to get a boarding pass use your smartphone! Check your check-in emails for a scanner code. You can easily show your phone with the scan code and use it as a boarding pass. If you have an iPhone, you can save your boarding pass information into the Passbook/Wallet. If you have an Android, you can save your boarding pass as a photo.
***However it is highly recommended to always have a backup print out of all your travel documents and keep them together in a travel document organizer. What if you lose your phone, or have a dead battery?
- When putting your carry-on baggage on the x-ray belt, put your laptop last so that it comes out behind your other items, and with luck, about the same time you walk through the metal detector to pick it. Better yet, have a travel companion clear security first then put your valuables on the belt, and they can keep an eye on your laptop until you have cleared security.
- If taking a connecting flight, alert the flight attendant. Long delays can occur in-between flights, and they will usually give passengers with connecting flights priority to get off the plane. This is especially valuable if your seat is towards the back of the plane.
*** Most airlines offer a wifi plan! You can research and buy credit before boarding the plane so that you may catch up on emails or entertain yourself during your flight!