With Australian airports busier than ever, and the latest rounds of strikes creating longer lines at check-in and at security, the old ‘two-hour’ rule often leaves you with just minutes to spare. But if you’d like a little extra time to enjoy a cup of coffee, buy a magazine, grab a snack, or just hustle your kids through the bathroom, there are still ways to get through the airport faster.
Saving a few extra minutes here and there can add up in your favor; so here are 10 airport tips to get you from your front door to your gate as quickly and as painlessly as possible.
- Check Your Flight Status
This sounds so simple, but you’d be surprised how many people forget to do it before leaving home. Most airlines will text you flight status updates if you sign up on their website, but if not, make sure you look up your flight 24 hours before departure and keep an eye on its status.
- Check-In Online
This can save you stacks of time, especially if you’re not checking bags. Avoid the queues at check-in by printing off your own boarding pass at home. Plus, it’s the best way to secure the seat you want aboard the plane. Most airlines have bag drop lines these days, which typically move much quicker than the standard economy check-in queues.
- Place Documents in an Easily Accessible Place
Before you leave for the airport, make sure you place your passport, boarding pass, and wallet in an easily accessible place. This ensures that you pack everything you need, and you’re not left fumbling around for anything when you need it.
- Pack Everything Else Out of Reach
If you don’t need it with you in the plane cabin, it can go in the hold. Pack clutter out of reach and out of sight, so it’s not in your way. There’s nothing worse than having to empty out the contents of your bag on the terminal floor because you can’t find your phone charger.
- Assess Your Stuff
Do a quick mental review of everything you are wearing, that you will need to remove to clear security. This might include your shoes, large items of jewelry, your watch, and jacket, as well as electronics and liquids which might need to be placed in a tray to be scanned separately. When you get to the front of the line, blast through your mental inventory and make it happen.
- Stow Everything Except Your Carry-on Bag
Likewise, it’s worth stowing everything except your ID, boarding pass, and your carry-on bag. Make sure you also empty out your pockets, so you’re not pulling out crumpled cash and odds and ends in front of airport security. By the time you get in the security line, you should be as close to ready to go through the actual security machine as possible.
- Weigh Your Bags
Many airports are now installing scales in front of the check-in areas, but you can also do this at home. If you suspect your checked bags might be overweight, it’s worth weighing them before you get in line at the airport. This gives you plenty of time to rearrange or discard anything that you don’t really need at your destination.
- Check the Airport Parking Situation Online
It helps to know where to park, in advance, including which lots are open and how far they are from the terminal. Better yet, you can pre-book your airport parking online, and save a little money in the process. During peak travel periods, car parks fill up quickly, so it’s helpful to have an alternate parking plan.
- Know Where To Go
Check the airport maps, hotel information, rental car counter details, and anything else you might need for your departing and destination airport. It’s also worth checking to see if the airport has an app that puts all of this information at your fingertips. If someone is dropping you off or picking you up, you can pre-arrange a location so that they can find you without too much hassle.
- Check the Flight Status Boards Again After Security
Unless you are really early, your actual flight time should be getting close. This is when you will start to see gate changes and more reliable departure time estimates, so it’s worth checking the flight status boards again after clearing security.
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