Missing a flight is one of the worst travel experiences you can have. You feel helpless and frustrated as you sometimes even watch your plane leave the gate while you’re stuck in the airport. Usually a missed flight is unavoidable because of a delayed connecting flight, an emergency, or a traffic jam that you just can’t get around. There are, however, many things you can do to get through the airport faster and more efficiently, increasing your chances of catching your flight each and every time. Here are a few of my expert-tested tips.
Leave lots of extra time
Especially around the holidays and during peak school vacation weeks, be sure to give yourself one hour more than what is typically recommended by TSA. That means two hours for domestic flights and three hours for international flights. Getting to the airport early has actually become quite enjoyable in recent years with more comfortable seating, upgrades to Wi-Fi, and much healthier food options. You can get some extra work done while dining on some pretty delicious airport grub!
Take mass transit to the airport
Parking lots tend to fill up quickly during busy travel periods. Rather than driving your car to the airport, I prefer to take mass transit or a taxi. Searching for parking could tack on an extra thirty to sixty minutes to your trip. If you have to drive, reserve your parking spot ahead of time by going online.
Sign up for TSA Pre-Check
Check your boarding pass for TSA PRE (TSA Pre-Check) to avoid removing shoes, belts and laptops from your luggage at security. You may already be pre-enrolled if you are a frequent traveler. If not, it’s $85 to enroll in the program for five years. Well worth it.
Make sure you don’t have oversized liquids
Brush up on the 3-1-1 rule. It means that you can pack as many 3.4 ounce items as you can fit in a one-quart-size plastic bag, which has to fit in your carry-on bag. If you forget that you have oversized liquids in your carry-on, you will likely have to make an extra pass through TSA security. Another time suck!
Viewfinder Tip: Bring an empty refillable water container. It is allowed through TSA security.
Dress for TSA success
I like to wear slip-on shoes, minimal jewelry, and check to make sure my pockets are emptied before I go through the scanner. This is just another way to cut down on time.
Avoid checking luggage
Have you noticed those “baggage drop” lines getting longer and longer? Skip the wait and head straight to the gate with your carry-on bag. If you do have to check a bag, paying online will save you a few bucks.
Stay in the know with mobile apps
Keep your family’s itineraries organized with Expedia’s mobile app and be sure to download your air carrier’s app too, which will update you of flight delays, gate changes and will even track your baggage for you!
What is your insider tip for getting to the gate faster?