Millions of people fly all over the world every day. With that many people doing the same thing, you’d assume there would be a master etiquette handbook. Unfortunately, this is not one of the things they teach us in school. While the basics of life still apply – be polite, follow the queue, and be prepared, we’ve prepared a short list of tips that will help your visit to the airport go a bit smoother and as stress free as possible.
1. Pre-book parking – While most UK airports are easily accessible by bus and perhaps train and tram, sometimes being able to hop in your car and drive straight home post-trip outweighs any public transport convenience. With this in mind, there are usually parking garages attached to the terminals, but the most common routine is to book a spot in a 24 hr monitored secure lot as it’s much less expensive. You’ll be expected to queue nicely (hopefully not in the rain) for linking shuttles to the airport terminals, but check to see if when booking in advance you can enjoy a private shuttle. This is a no-hassle option that allows you to depart as soon as your car is in the lot, rest assured that your vehicle will be looked after and waiting for you when you return.
2. Weigh your luggage in advance – This can save you so a lot of time, especially if you’re sure your luggage is on the line of being overweight, and avoid holding other travellers up. Always err on the side of caution and pack only what you need. If this is a constant source of stress for you, consider purchasing a portable scale and offer it to people waiting in line with you to hurry things along!. Make sure you check luggage standards in advance (especially if you’re allowed a handbag/laptop bag on top of your carryon) as this can help you balance out the weight a bit. Don’t assume you will automatically get an additional bag, though, so always double check dependent on the airline.
3. Be aware of what you’ve packed – Security lineups are usually the most time consuming part of getting through the airport. By knowing exactly what you’ve packed and where to pack it, you’ll be able to be ready to empty whatever you need into the bins and walk through the scanners without a problem and not be pulled up with a giant bottle of hairspray or full water bottle. Always make sure you’ve removed all jewellery/belts/buckles before you get to the front of the line (or just pack them in your carryon to put back on later) so you can move swiftly through to the other side.
4. Show up early and be prepared to wait – Just because you’re an efficient traveller, doesn’t mean everyone else has mastered the craft. Always ensure you’re at the airport at least an hour before you fly as you can rarely assume what time the airport will be busiest. This also allows you to have time to react in case your gate changes or security lineups get backed up. Taking a book/magazine/snack along to keep yourself entertained once you’re through to your gate is far more relaxing than having to run from one end of an airport to the other in case of a change/arriving late.
5. Keep important documents on hand – You never know when you may have to show your passport/boarding pass when in the airport, so always make sure you have them in an easy to reach place. Whether this be in your wallet in your handbag, or your jacket pocket, ensure they are in a safe, accessible spot and remove anything that you don’t need immediate access to and place it in your carry on to prevent clutter and fumbling.
Copyright © 2016 Lucy Barker