How to make airports and flying easier

Airtports...

Most of us who have flown more than one time seem to all think that flying sucks. It's an annoying hassle, it's uncomfortable, and it's expensive just to top it off. I wouldn't call myself an airport guru but I've picked up several tips that have made flying a lot easier.

Tips:

  • Pack light. Do whatever you need to so that you don't have to check a bag. Saves money and time. Even if you can condense everything into carry-on luggage, packing light is still easier to deal with overall. The bigger the object is that you have to stick under your seat, the less leg space you have. (Please, also be courteous, if there are a lot of people on the flight don't stick both bags and your jacket in the overhead bin. It's rude to the people who end up having to check luggage because of it, and it delays getting out of the gate.)
  • Wear appropriate clothing. You'll be sitting or standing around for a while, wear something comfortable. You'll also have to take your shoes off so keep that in mind. Also, don't wear a belt, it's easier going through security. I admit if you wear baggy clothing there is a higher chance you'll be searched, but it's far more comfortable. Especially with the pressure changes you may find yourself expanding. Wear your shoes a little more loose, and loose clothing is nice as well. Also, I tend to get cold on airplanes a lot, so I bring layers so I can take them off or add them back on if necessary.
  • Print boarding passes online. Saves you a lot of time. No-brainer here. Even if you have to check luggage there are often luggage drop off areas and you can skip the lines.
  • Don't put your hands in your pockets as you go through the metal detector. I had never heard about this one, but just recently I got yelled at by some officer because my hands were in my pockets.
  • Pockets are amazing. If you have enough pockets you never have to dig for anything. Boarding pass, ID, MP3 player, cell phone, tissue, snack, or any small thing you may be interested in when on the plane, shove them in your pockets. As such I like to wear a jacket with lots of pockets. Don't put your keys in your pockets though, you're flying, you don't need them. Get them out of the way.
  • Prepare for going through security at every step you can. When you get close, untie your shoes. Closer, grab some bins, even if you don't have space to us them yet. Before arriving make sure your laptop is a single move away. Also, if your laptop is in a bag with other things, put a large flat object in with it so it's easier to stick back in after you retrieve it (a notebook works). When you finally have space to put everything in the bins to go through security it should just be a matter if grabbing what is already ready to go. And don't stand behind families.
  • Prepare for the desire to sleep. Some people like to sleep on planes, some don't. If you like to, consider bringing a pillow. Consider what seat you have as well, it is easy to sleep when you have a window but hard if you're in a middle spot.
  • Use your phone immediately upon landing to secure your transportation from the airport. If you're getting a ride, call them right away so that you can properly time your pickup.
  • Check for free wifi, some airports have it, it's like gold in an airport.
  • Don't put your carry-on luggage in the bins behind you in the plane. Make sure it is right where you sit, or ahead of you.
  • Consider a passport holder, it can hold your ID and your boarding pass in a convenient and easy to access location.

Hopefully this will help you shave minutes or more off your experience in an airport, sometimes that time means a lot.

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