Are you planning to fly off on holiday soon? At peak times, getting through the airport can be a stressful process, with long queues and large crowds. But don’t let that put you off. Here at Mundana we know a thing or two about travel so let us share with you our airport hacks and tips every traveller needs to know. They’ll help make the whole process a lot smoother and get your holiday off to a flying start.
Choose your airport carefully
Getting ready for the airport starts earlier than you think. When you book your flights, think carefully about which airport you choose. A major hub is likely to be busier. However, if your flight were to be cancelled, you’ll have more alternatives. In comparison, a smaller airport is much less likely to experience widespread cancellations, particularly if there’s only one flight per day between destinations. Although, there’ll be fewer options if you need a Plan B. Similarly, opting for an airline’s home airport has the same advantages, as the airline won’t need to fly a new crew in from elsewhere if someone’s taken ill or they go over their permitted hours after a delay. For instance, consider flying out of London Heathrow with British Airways, or Atlanta in the US on Delta Airlines.
Ditch your hold luggage
Travellers are often concerned about the risk of losing their luggage. In reality, though bags can be delayed, they’re rarely lost altogether. We know, though, that’s no consolation if you’re stuck without yours at the start of your holiday. One of the best airport hacks and tips we’ve ever read is to convert to travelling with cabin baggage only. Many airlines offer a surprisingly generous on-board luggage allowance. With careful packing – and here are a few of Mundana’s favourite packing tips – you can carry everything you need in a relatively small suitcase. You’ll need to keep your liquids to travel sizes and stick carefully to permitted dimensions and weight allowances, but it is doable.
Give yourself plenty of time
It can be really tempting to arrive at the airport as late as possible, but that can be a risky game. Some of the world’s busiest airports can experience long delays at security in peak periods. You won’t want to risk missing your flight because you’re stuck in line. So how early should you get to the airport before your flight? Three hours ahead of a long haul flight is typical. Here at Mundana, we recommend following the airport on Twitter and keeping an eye on their posts to get a feel for how busy things have been. If you sail through security quicker than expected, you’ll have time for a pre-flight coffee or a few extra pages of your book. Some airports, such as Singapore’s Changi, have loads to do – we love its butterfly garden, movie theatres and rooftop pool.
Pre-book a fast track pass
Most larger airports offer a fast track pass which allows holders to skip the main security queue. Often this doesn’t cost much and you can purchase one after the time of booking if necessary. Some airports even facilitate booking on arrival. That means you can wait and see what the queue’s like before you shell out. At peak times, using a fast track pass can shave half an hour or more off your wait time. As such, it’s often money well spent. However, there are no guarantees, and it’s well worth reading the small print on the airport’s website to make sure you’re getting a good deal. For instance, some airports won’t allow pushchairs or car seats through the fast track lane, so if you’re travelling with small children, this might not work for you.
Be realistic about connection times
If you’re planning to take a connecting flight rather than a direct option – and sometimes you won’t have a choice in the matter – then do your research about how long you need to allow to transfer between planes. In the US, for instance, inbound international passengers will need to clear immigration and recheck bags for their onward destination. That process that can take a couple of hours if you’re unlucky. In Europe, that’s not the case, but you may need to switch terminals. Although the airport will provide a shuttle service of some kind, usually a train or bus, you’ll need to give yourself plenty of time to do so.
Mimic frequent flyers
If you’re travelling often for a living, it stands to reason that you’ll have streamlined your airport routines. Next time you’re waiting in line, watch and learn. For example, sliding your liquids bag into an outside pocket makes sense as it’s easy to pull out when you need to place it into a tray. Ditto your laptop or iPad, though move it to a more secure place once you’re through security. Keep your coins in a purse rather than a pocket. Don’t bother with a belt unless you need it. Most travellers passing through a US airport will be required to remove their shoes, so choose slip-ons over styles with lots of laces if that’s where your journey will take you.
Charge up your devices
Another of our favourite airport hacks and tips is to carry a multi-destination battery charger. If you’re connecting through an airport, you can take the opportunity to charge up your devices, which is especially useful if you’ve not been able to charge up your phone on the plane. Another option, which has the advantage of not requiring a plug socket at all, is to carry a portable battery charger or power bank. Note that if it contains a lithium ion battery, it must be packed in carry-on bags for safety reasons. Most airports offer free WiFi. If you’re fully charged up you can get a jump on planning what you’re going to do when you reach your destination.
Take an empty water bottle
When flying, it’s important to stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water before and during the flight is a must. However, buying water airside is expensive and those convenient single use plastic bottles come aren’t environmentally friendly. Instead, pack a refillable bottle. Carry it empty through security and fill it at one of the airport’s water fountains. There’s even a handy website that allows you to check whether the airport you’re flying from or to has one, and what to look for. If you can’t find it, seek help from a member of staff. Many reusable bottles boast fabulous designs or come with customisable covers. So, you can make a fashion statement as you drink.
With these invaluable airport hacks and tips, you’re all set, so where are you planning to travel next? Get in touch with the expert team at Mundana today and let us take care of flights, fast track passes and everything else you need for your trip.