The Wayfarer Study's Guide for the Official "Airport Cheat Sheet"
Author: Ken Hamm
If you’re like most people, you only take two to three flights a year: one vacation, one trip to handle some personal business, and the annual pilgrimage home for Thanksgiving. And each time, you have to try to remember all the rules, regulations, and advice you learned about how to move quickly and efficiently through the airport.
But no one remembers that s**t.
You get to the airport and you’re as awkward as a 50 year-old father on the basketball court who claims he’s still got it. However, your experience doesn’t have to be painful. We’ve catalogued our flying experiences, looked over the shoulders of businessmen, and consulted Reddit for a few tips to help you make your way around the world like a seasoned pro.
Check out our handy dandy cheat sheet for a few pointers, reminders, and a couple smacks of common sense.
Dress To Impress
While there are a lot of benefits to dressing like a hungover college student while traveling, there are also some benefits to dressing up. For one, when you look like you mean business, people treat you like you mean business. Airport staff and your fellow passengers will move faster or get out of your way. Second, you’re also more likely to get upgrade to first class if you look like you belong there. You don’t have to get dressed up to the 9’s, but a little sprucing up doesn’t hurt.
One Carry-On. One Personal Item.
Unless you are planning to stay out of town for more than a week or smuggling blue jeans to Russia, there’s no reason to carry anything more than a carry-on bag and one personal item – like a backpack. Not only will you save an estimated 30 minutest standing in a long line to check your luggage, but you will also avoid the exorbitant fees that many airlines charge. Just be sure to look up your airline’s carry-on size and weight limits.
Avoid Packing Fluids
You know that whole 3-1-1 TSA Rule for liquids? You can buy travel size versions of your favorite products, or try to squeeze your specialty brand lotion in a travel tube. However, a better solution might be just to use the stuff at the hotel. Almost everything you need is right there for free. If you aren’t staying at a hotel, go to a drug store and pick up what you need when you arrive.
Print Boarding Passes Ahead of Time
Print your boarding pass at home or use your mobile phone. Most airlines let you use your mobile phone as a boarding pass. Just download the app. If for some reason you can’t use a mobile boarding pass, ask the attendant to print your boarding pas at he gate. If you will be on multiple flights, ask the attendant to print all of your boarding pass as the same time.
Don’t Check-In At The Airport
Avoid yet another potentially long line. Check-in at home online or use your smartphone. Visit your airline’s website for information and options.
Getting Through Security
Security can be a nightmare for travelers. Everything from wearing shoes with laces to loose change can cause delays and dirty looks. Our advice? Designate a zippered pocket in your carry-on for keys, wallet, change, and everything else in your pocket. Place your bag in one bin and any electronics you might have in a second bin. Finally, you should get in line behind a business travel. They will move as quickly as possible with as few issues as possible.
Getting To The Gate
Your Boarding Pass will have your terminal gate information. Follow the signs to your gate and try to get there as early as possible so you can go to the bathroom, stop by the book store, get some food, or anything else you might want to do before taking flight.
Boarding The Actual Plane
Get in line when the section before your section is called. This will help you snag some valuable overhead bin space.