No one enjoys spending hours at the airport, especially when you’re about to board a long flight, so here are a few tips that will make your time in departures a little less stressful:
1. Check In Online
Nowadays virtually every airline offers online check in, so it’s always a good idea to get the ball rolling in advance to save yourself some time at the airport. In fact, it’s good practice to always double-check your booking fine print because some airlines even charge an extra fee to passengers who don’t check in online in advance.
2. Get an Electronic Boarding Pass
When you check in online, some airlines even offer the option of sending you an electronic boarding pass for a mobile device. Once you have one of these, you won’t need a printed pass. My wallet app is packed with boarding passes.
3. Only Take Carry On
Want to skip lining up at a check-in counter or automated kiosk all together? No problem: just follow tips 1 and 2, and don’t check any luggage! You’ll feel like a really slick frequent flyer breezing right by those check-in lineups.
4. Be Ready for Security
Although having to wait in line at security is pretty much unavoidable, there are definitely ways to make the process faster and smoother for everyone involved: just follow my TOP 5 Tips for Breezing Through Airport Security. This is particularly important if you followed tip 3 and have sizable carry-on luggage.
5. Board Last and Have Your ID Ready
To be perfectly honest, one of my biggest travel pet peeves is when hordes of passengers crowd the boarding area by lining up at the scheduled boarding time (or even earlier), regardless of whether the plane is actually ready for boarding. On the flipside, when I’m in such a lineup, I can’t help but become impatient. At this point, it’s no surprise that someone would be sick of being at the airport, and going from one line to another. That’s why nowadays I always sit and wait—reading or watching the planes out the window—until almost everyone is finished boarding. Then I can go on board as one of the last people without having to wait in line. Also, always remember to have your ID (usually your passport) open to the photo page to show along with your boarding pass.
Note: Boarding last may sometimes leave you with limited space in the overhead bins to put your carry-ons, so that’s a potential drawback. Absolute worst case scenario, a flight attendant will have to check your larger carry-on at no charge. You have to weigh your options and decide what you prefer.
As always, happy travels!