If you’re new to air travel, airports can be confusing and overwhelming places. Learning how to navigate through them can increase your travel confidence, making your airport experience much smoother and stress-free. Use this survival guide to help you navigate the airport like a pro.
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Check In Online
Most airlines offer online check-in, which can save you time at the airport. Check in as early as possible to avoid long lines at the counter. Before you head to the airport, make sure all of your documents and ID are in order and that you haven’t forgotten anything important.
Make sure to arrive at the airport with plenty of time to spare. If you’re leaving your car at the airport, be sure to give yourself ample time to catch the shuttle services to the terminal. It’s more common these days to have flight delays and cancellations. If this happens to you, you’ll want to give yourself adequate time to alter travel arrangements, notify family, or move to another gate if necessary. Early arrival will help you avoid any stressful last-minute rushing.
Know Your Terminal
If you’re not familiar with the airport, take some time to find out which terminal your flight is departing from. Most airports have multiple terminals, and they can be quite a distance apart. Once you know which terminal you’re in, take note of the nearby restaurants, cafes, and shops in case you need anything while you wait for your flight. Carry a charging cord for your phone and laptop. There will be outlets in most airports where you’ll want to make sure your devices remain fully charged, just in case.
Go Through Security
Security lines at the airport can be long and slow-moving. To make sure you get through as quickly as possible, wear comfortable, easy-to-remove shoes and have your ID and boarding pass ready. If you must pack any liquids or gels in your carry-on bag, be sure they are within the 3.4 oz (100 ml) limit and placed in a clear, quart-sized bag. It’s also a good idea to pack your electronics in one area of your suitcase – a side pocket if possible – so that you can remove them quickly if asked. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask a security agent. They are there to help you through the process.
It is advisable to bring an empty reusable water bottle with you. Although it must be completely empty to get through security, once you are past security, you can fill it up at a drinking fountain or restaurant and have fresh water while waiting at your gate.
Once you’re through security, find your departure gate and have a seat. If you still have some time before your flight, read a book, catch up on work emails, or enjoy a snack. Drink plenty of water, and avoid caffeine, as flying is known to be very dehydrating. If your layover is more than a short time, consider checking out the airport lounge. Designed for quiet and comfort, you’ll find lounge chairs, a variety of foods, showers, and sometimes even a place to catch a nap between flights. There will be a fee for entry, but everything inside is included and well worth the money spent.
We hope that you will find this guide helpful and that your airport and flight experience is a smooth and safe one. If there are any upsets to your trip, just know that this is fairly common and airports do their best to navigate unexpected issues. They always appreciate your patience and willingness to work with them.