It is said that when people arrive at the airport they can become a different person. Things are forgotten, not realized, and stress can ensue. It could be because control is lost and you are completely reliant on other people. Whatever it is me along with Lauren from Outdoorsy Diva have decided to give you some airport dos and don’ts.
– You should know that if you find yourself running a bit behind schedule or you see the line at the check-in counter is ridiculously long, curbside check-in can be a lifesaver. Some airlines don’t charge for this service and some charge a small fee per bag. If you are only checking 1 or 2 pieces of luggage that $2 per bag plus tip just might be worth it to avoid standing in line for 30 minutes. It is also a little known secret that curbside check-in is a bit more lenient with the weight limits. Shhhh! Seriously it’s true. I’ve had 1 to 3 lbs overage overlooked. Of course, I made sure to tip my skycap. They are also known to tag your luggage with priority tags so that it arrives first on the luggage carousel. You take care of them and they take care of you. ~L
– Also, remember to be nice to the agents. Being rude and causing a scene won’t get you far. In fact, you may not be going anywhere. People will be happier to help you if you don’t start yelling and screaming or have a major attitude. ~H
– Make sure you know the baggage allowance number, the baggage fees, and the weight restrictions before you arrive. This can really cost you, especially on budget airlines like Ryan Air or Easy Jet. ~L
– It is important to know you can only carry 3.4 oz of liquid. Anything over that needs to be checked. If not TSA will throw it out in the garbage. So purchase travel-sized products. ~H
– Know how much your luggage weighs before you arrive. There are a number of portable scales you can use to weigh your luggage ahead of time. There is nothing more embarrassing than being “that person” trying to figure out what you can shove into your carry-on at the ticket counter. ~L
– Arrive early. You never know what traffic, ticket counter lines, or TSA lines will be like. There are bag cutoffs and it is important to know them for the airline you are flying. You may not be able to check your bag and in turn, potentially miss your flight. It is better to be early and stress-free then stressed and running through the airport. ~H
– Make sure you are fully aware of the passport rules for your destination. It is common that your passport has to have at least 6 months of eligibility left on it in order for you to travel to your destination. I had a friend arrive for a flight to Mexico only to be turned away at check-in because her passport expired within a month. What a costly mistake to make! The airline website should specify and you can find travel rules for most countries on the www.state.gov/travel. ~L
– It is important to keep up on any information about visa rules as well. You may have looked a month ago and something has recently changed. Case in point, Canada now requires those who don’t hold a US Passport to obtain a visa before entering the country. Even those holding a green card. The same goes for anyone from the states who are looking to visit Italy. There are options to attend an italian visa appointment new york, for example, for anyone in this situation, as getting a visa is a requirement to visit many countries.
– There are other legal matters to keep in mind too. Heading to the US from Canada? There are many reasons why people can be barred from entering a country, and convictions on a criminal record often play a big role in this. A DUI, theft, fraud, and/or possession conviction on your record can result in you getting turned away from the US border. This is because of an agreement between the Candian and US government. For Canadians with a conviction on their record, the method for removing a conviction essentially involves applying for a Canadian pardon. A Canadian pardon can remove a conviction from a criminal record. That being said, the past conviction is not removed from the Customs and Border Patrol database. Ultimately, if you have concerns about your criminal record when traveling to the US from Canada, you might want to consider reaching out to Pardon services in Canada for legal support and guidance about how best to proceed.
– It’s helpful to know your gate number before you arrive. If you are using the mobile app for your airline it’s usually listed there or it’s on your electronic boarding pass. Why do you need to know this information? Well if you’re team carry-on there’s no need for you to have to make a stop at the counter or a kiosk. You can go directly to security and on to your gate. Some airports like DFW have different entrances according to the gate. On a recent trip to Dallas, my driver asked my gate number so that he could know where to drop me off. Luckily I had the handy app. Otherwise, you could end up being dropped off in the wrong place resulting in a lot of unnecessary walking. Who needs that? ~L
– If you travel frequently look into getting TSA pre-check. If you travel internationally consider Global Entry which will also provide you with TSA pre-check. Another option for international travel is to download Mobile Passport. Either way, you can quickly get through security or customs. Don’t under-estimate the lines even if you do have pre-check. I once stood on a TSA pre-check like for 30 minutes just to get up to an agent. Mind you there were 4 separate pre-check lines. ~H
– Make sure you know that anything in your luggage and especially on your carry-on is allowable. You can check the Mobile Passport website ahead of time. If you have a questionable item, like whether or not you can travel with grandma’s sweet potato pie, you can snap a picture and tween @AskTSA or send it to them via Facebook Messenger and they will reply to you and let you know if your item is allowable. ~L
– Don’t stand in unnecessary lines. Many airlines allow you to get your boarding pass and check your luggage using kiosks. If you don’t have a good reason for going to the ticket counter, by all means avoid it. ~L
– Some airlines you have to get on a line to drop off the bag you are checking. Don’t get on the line if you aren’t checking a bag, but have an issue. You will more than likely waste your time on one line only to be sent to another. ~H
– If you will be in the airport for a while due to layover, don’t pass up an open outlet. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been strolling through the airport and say to myself “Oh good there’s an outlet so I can charge my phone or plug-in my laptop. I’ll come back to it.” No, you won’t come back to it. It likely won’t be available. Finding open charging stations is serious business. If you see it jump on it immediately. (Bonus: Please don’t leave your items charging unattended at a charging station unless you really dont’ want to own them anymore. Sounds nuts but I see people do this all the time.) ~L
– Don’t be that person that tries to go through security with more than a personal item and a carry-on. You will more than likely have to go back to the ticket counter and check the bag. Also make sure the bag is a proper sized carry-on or you may be turned away to go back to the counter and check it.. That line “I always take it on the plane,” isn’t always going to work so save yourself the trouble. ~H
We could probably be here awhile with Dos and Don’ts, but these are some of the basics and things to keep in mind when heading to the airport. Above all make sure you plan ahead so you can alleviate potential stress.
What Dos and Don’ts do you have at the airport?