You get so excited to go on vacation, rush to the airport, and then see them – the dreaded lines. Nothing kills the buzz for your trip faster than having to wait several more hours just to get to your gate. There’s no reason to feel like you have to live at the airport like Tom Hanks’ character in “Terminal” though. These easy tips will have you at your gate faster so you can relax for once before your flight.
With the exception of international flights, most airlines allow you to check in starting 24 hours before your flight. Some websites even allow you to print off baggage tags at home, saving you a huge amount of time. Why would you waste time waiting in line when you could be sitting at your gate relaxing with your grande 2% cappuccino from Starbucks? While you’re online, check out the TSA wait times the morning of your flight. The website shows wait times for not just the airport, but each station to save you time.
Bring Only Carry-On Luggage
Most travelers are serial over-packers. If this is you, think hard if you really need five different pairs of shoes for that weekend trip. Chances are you can significantly narrow down what you pack. If that still seems hard, start vacuuming clothes – you’ll be amazed at how small they can get! Tightly rolling your clothes can also save a large amount of space. Not having to stand in that winding line to check in extra luggage will do wonders for your sanity.
Prepare Your Documents
At a minimum, you’ll need your identification and boarding pass ready. Have everything ready to present to the TSA officer so you’re not fumbling through your bags when it’s your turn. While you’re at it, it never hurts to print important documents you need. Phones can die, and mobile boarding passes don’t always load successfully, so having a hard copy of your boarding pass and any other necessary documents is smart.
Apply for TSA PreCheck
By now you’ve probably heard about this program and enviously stared at the people whizzing by in the shorter line. There’s no reason to be jealous anymore – it couldn’t be easier for you to have TSA PreCheck yourself! You’ll need to make an appointment at the nearest TSA center, go through a fast screening, get fingerprinted, and voila – you’ll have your very own number. It costs $85 and lasts for 5 whole years. Find out more about getting it here.
Use the flightSpeak App
As the ultimate airport app, there’s no better way to find your way around the airport than using flightSpeak. The app will show you what’s by your gate, what services are available in the airport, and even what time the restaurants and stores open and close. It’s one of the best time savers around!