5 Tips for a Hassle-Free Airport Experience

Memorial Day is right around the corner and always serves as the unofficial start of travel season.  That means millions of us will soon head to dream destinations for some fun in the sun.  The only thing that stands between us and our vacations is the airport.  If you’ve seen the footage of Spirit Airlines passengers brawling at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport, you have every right to be concerned.   You deserve a hassle-free experience, and here are a few ways to guarantee it.

1. TSA Pre-Check

TSA Checkpoints
Source: Flickr

When you get to the security checkpoint, you always see two lines.  There’s TSA Pre-Check and there’s the rest of us.  The beauty of TSA Pre-Check is that you don’t need to remove your shoes.  You also don’t need to remove your laptop or electronics from your carry-on luggage.  It’s quick, smooth, and easy.  Even better?  The program costs $85 and gives you active Pre-Check status for 5 years.  The sign-up appointment can be scheduled in advance and only takes 10 minutes.  It’s a no-brainer and can save you the headache of suffering through long security lines.

2. Slip-On Shoes

Taking off shoes at airport security
Source: Flickr

There’s nothing worse than the person in front of you who needs to carefully unlace their shoes before removing them.  In the regular security line, you still need to take off your shoes.  It’s easy to do when you have slip-on sneakers, loafers, boat shoes, or any similar lace-free shoe style.  Slide in and out of your footwear so you don’t hold up the line.

3. Mobile Passport

mobile passport app tsa cbp
The mobile passport app, authorized by the CBP.

International travel is often a glorious experience until you return home.  Customs and immigration lines are almost always long and painful.  The Mobile Passport app is erasing the wait.  You simply load your passport info into the app and answer some basic questions about your trip.  You head to a special line for Mobile Passport travelers and you speed through just as quickly as those diplomats and people with Global Entry.

4. Be On Time

airport travel
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

It sounds simple but you’d be surprised how many people show up for their flights less than an hour before takeoff.  When you do this, you risk inconveniencing other travelers, and you risk missing your flight.  If you want time to breathe, get to the airport at least 2 hours before your departure time.

5. Pull Out What You Need

Overhead Compartment
Source: Flickr

Boarding the plane is another arduous process.  People are frantically searching for available overhead bin space.  They’re pulling out snacks, books, and laptops to use during the flight.  Do yourself a favor and pull out the things you intend to use beforehand.  You can toss your bag overhead with ease and plop down in your seat without holding up the line.  Plus, you won’t have to get up mid-flight and get caught in any unexpected turbulence.

Flying can be fun and easy but only if you prepare for it in advance.