11 tips for surviving an airport – International

My Two hour transit in Munich, Germany

Today I came across an article from Insider Travel titled “26 travel hacks that will help you get through the airport faster”. It was a great article on travel tips but some of the points were more suited to American’s travelling rather than us international people.

So I’m going to mix, add and change what Sophie-Claire wrote and cater my list for everyone else and a few things I’ve discovered on my own travels.

1. TSA PreCheck or Global Entry

This tip is most definitely only for certain people. TSA PreCheck is only for United States Citizens & United States Permanent Residents.

Eligibility for Global Entry is limited to nationals from; Colombia, United Kingdom, Germany, Panama, Singapore, South Korea, and Mexico. German Citizens are also eligible.

Both of these require application fees and last five years. In the United Kingdom, some passport holders can register for Registered Traveller service which lasts one year and also has a registration fee. In New Zealand and Australia, certain holders of ePassports can enter through SmartGate.

2. Fly on red-eye flights mid week for a quieter trip

Flying mid week on a red eye flight has a few bonuses. Firstly you’ll have fewer people around the airport, less traffic and shorter lines. Secondly, depending on where you’re flying its likely the plane may not be full giving you some extra leg room. However, some airport amenities, services and customer options may not be open or available.

Flying across Europe

3. Use public transport or look for other parking options

The closer to the terminal you park, the more you’ll pay per day. Some airports offer a long term parking area that costs less but it’s further from the terminal. If you don’t want to park or take a taxi, try public transport straight to the terminal.

4. Apps Apps Apps!

Airport Apps, Security Apps, Airline Apps. Get all the apps. Just about every airline offers an app these days that display; gate information, check in and boarding times as well as mobile tickets.

5. Put loose items in your carry on

Avoid standing around at security putting your phone, wallet, keys etc. into the plastic tray by placing them in your carry on before you get to security.

6. Pre-bag your liquids

When packing, pre-bag your liquids before getting to the airport. That way all you have to do pull your liquids bag out when you get to security.

7. Avoid unnecessary clothing items

Unfortunately you can’t avoid wearing shoes but if you aren’t wearing a belt of jacket, you’ll get through security much faster if you aren’t fiddling with clothing items.

6. Bring an empty bottle, plastic of course

Buying water in airports is going to cost you and liquids more than 100ml aren’t allowed in your carry on. An empty bottle is however, as long as you can prove it’s empty at security (by opening it when asked) you’ll be allowed to take it through.

7. Have a safe flight

This is one that I don’t agree with Insider Travel on. Sophie-Claire recommends in tips 8 & 9 to densely pack your bag to try to hide liquids or freeze them into a solid to bypass security. Security restrictions are there for a reason and I’d prefer a safe flight over a dangerous one.

8. Longer Transit times

Want a relaxed travel experience but passing through at least one airport? Try extending the time you’re on the ground to take some of that stress away. Whether it’s because you have to pass through security, collect and recheck bags or just want a coffee, some extra time so you aren’t running to your gate will do your body wonders. Just don’t spend too long.

My Two hour transit in Munich, Germany

9. Free Wifi

There are a few options here. These days most airports offer free wifi for a limited amount of time anyway but if they don’t or you use your allotted amount, try finding a lounge door or a customer amenity like a cafe for some free wifi. Do some online research before travelling for tips like airport wifi passwords.

10. Be a plus one

Want that lounge access but don’t have that lounge access? Try being nice to someone who does. Waiting at a lounge door for someone to enter the lounge and asking if you can use their guest pass won’t hurt anyone.

11. Alliance over loyalty

Being loyal to one airline is one thing and yes it may get you some extras but not all airlines fly to all destinations and your favourite airline may not be the cheapest or quickest. Expand your knowledge and look at flying in an alliance. That way it’s still possible to earn loyalty points on your preferred airline but you may get extras of partner airlines in the same alliance.

A few well known alliances include Oneworld, Star Alliance and SkyTeam.

13. Talk to the airline

Got a problem with the airline, skip the airport people and head straight to social media and by social media I mean twitter. Its more direct and the social team are more likely to reply in a timely manor to a tweet over a Facebook post.

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