Let’s be honest. It’s never our fault we are running late to the airport right? Why do I have to wait in line when my flight is leaving NOW and those other people’s flights are leaving in two hours?! Can this line be any slower?! (crossing arms and stomping foot) Just a few of the excuses I hear people give time and time again when I am waiting in line. Sometimes, I AM one of those people. FAIL!
I used to work for an airline for five years. I also travel a lot and by that I mean at least 4x a month domestic and international. These are MY helpful must do’s when you find yourself in that situation.
- Download the airline’s app so you can check-in and get your mobile boarding pass. With most airline apps you can book flights, check flight and upgrade statuses, view your mileage account, among many other helpful features.
- Do not check a bag. Travel with an approved carry on [The maximum dimensions for a carry-on bag are 9 inches x 14 inches x 22 inches (22 cm x 35 cm x 56 cm), including handles and wheels.] Many airlines have bag cut off times. Most have one hour bag cut off times for International flights and 45 min for domestic flights. Keep this in check! They are very strict and the airline agents are just doing their job when they decline to check your bag.
- Have your ID and boarding pass ready. Make sure you have your ID and credit cards before you leave your house. *You CAN travel without your ID. A lot of people do not know that, but be prepared to answer LOTS of questions to prove your identity aaaand there went your flight.
- Have your laptop on the outermost pocket of your carry onready to pull out for when you go through security. It goes in its own bin.
- Garments and shoes. Please be prepared with this. Do not wear something that requires you to wear a belt and wear shoes that you can easily take off and put on. Leave the shoe laces at home. I usually wear my chucks. Yes they have laces but I can easily slip them off and on.
- You do NOT have to take toiletries out. I travel at least 4x a month and have to go through security 8x. I NEVER take my toiletries out. I do comply with the approved limit of 3.4 oz (100 ml) containers and I’m golden. Just grab your bag and go!
- Sign up for TSA Pre-Check. Be prepared to go through faster queue lines. You do not have to take off your shoes and belt or take your laptop out. The expedited experience must be amazing. I NEED to get on that pronto.*TSA incorporates random screenings and so that might slow up your process. Know that it’s random. Do NOT complain to TSA about you paying extra for Pre-Check. They do not want to hear it. Accept it and move on. Bye Felicia!
- Take some time to know your terminal and airport. I know I know. “Say what?! No one has time for that!” Believe me. It is well worth it. Do you really want to look like an i**** running through a terminal with your belt, shoes and briefcase in your hand turning left and right blaspheming the whole airline when in reality you are the one at fault for not waking up on time or give yourself enough time to get to the airport! Sorry. Phew. I got carried away there.
- Gates change! I know it is printed in a boarding pass, so you are thinking, “Well that can’t change.” WRONG. Nothing is guaranteed in life. That includes your boarding gate.
- Doors close ten minutes before departure. “But my boarding pass says 10:30!” Yes it does. DEPARTURE IS 10:30. Boarding passes do not say: THE LAST PASSENGER ALLOWED INSIDE THE AIRCRAFT IS AT 10:30. WE’LL WAIT UNTIL YOU STOW YOUR BAG, FIND YOUR SEAT AND BUCKLE UP. WE’LL PUSH THIS PLANE OUT AT 10:45, REALLY. I’m just saying ya’ll.