Ten tips for surviving airports

Airport tipsGlobal working? Continuing our blog series on business travel, we asked our constantly travelling training team for their travel tips to share with others in global roles.

The following were amongst the things they suggested when it comes to making life easier at the airport.

Getting to the airport

1. Maybe not practical for everyone, and you can see immediately that Joff Marshall Lee falls on the ‘travel light’ side of the packing debate, his first tip is ride a motorbike to the airport – you can mostly park for free about 50m from the lift to departures. John Bland, by contrast, suggests getting a taxi to the airport with someone you like talking to, to help de-stress.

2. Get into a routine of keeping passports, travel documents etc in the same place. But be wary that if something unusual has happened and you’ve removed your passport for identification, for example, it’s easy to be complacent. It may sound over the top, but I find a checklist of the basics (passport, driving license, travel adaptors etc) can act as an ‘aide memoire’ at a time when you’re focussing ahead to the meeting, travel arrangements, arranging things at home etc. (Claire Thompson). TH Ong takes this further: Always have your travel doc, mobile phone, wallet, and a mini high-power flashlight in a sealed plastic pouch within easy reach of you whether on a plane or while you sleep in your hotel. It will save you hours if not days of hassle – and in some cases might increase your chance of survival, during emergency evacuation.

3. A nice tip submitted by de.hotels.com: Dress to impress at the airport – you can end up getting an upgrade if you look the part.

Check In

4. Never, never, never check a bag in: you may never see it again. A week away should fit in a bag that will fit in the overhead locker.  This also saves you time at check in and at baggage reclaim, which can be worth an hour per trip. (Robyn Green and Kevan Hall – controversial, though: see last week’s debate.)

5. Kevan Hall advises that you always check in online: between online checking and hand baggage you can avoid most of the queues. (de.hotels.com suggests that you are more likely to get your preferred seat this way as well.)

6. Using the BA app, you can pick your seat in advance if you have silver card or above, and regardless of card type you can download your scan-able boarding pass.  No need for printers – hurrah. (Joff Marshall Lee)

7.  Cheapflights, the UK  international flight comparison site, suggests that f you’re running late for the airport, particularly if you’re flying with a budget airline, don’t panic. If your flight is short-haul and you arrive late for check-in, tell a member of staff and they’ll almost always send you right to the front of the queue to check in on time.


8. Wear a plastic belt with a plastic clasp when travelling, and slip on shoes: you don’t need to take it off for airport security.(Phil Stockbridge) Cheapflights.co.uk added two ear as little jewellery as possible, don’t take a watch unless you need to and don’t wear zipped tops – you’ll always be asked to take them off. Avoid boots as you’ll often be asked to remove them.

9. NEVER argue, discuss or banter with any border control or customs agent, especially in the U.S. Remain silent with a polite smile on your face until you’re spoken to. (TH Ong)

10. I registered for IRIS and this still saves significant time at Immigration where they still have them. (Phil Stockbridge)

 For the ‘Travelling light’ debate, see last week’s business travel post.

Next week: Through the airport

We take a dive into the guides available to saving your sanity – and your time – at specific airports around the World.
What’s your experience at specific airports? Have you any tips to share for making travel through them easier?

PS Don’t forget to have your say on the seat debate, beforehand: aisle, middle or window seat? (And why?)
Click here to take survey


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