14 Tips to avoid airport delays and troubles during the Holiday season
Holidays, especially Christmas holidays, are meant to be relaxing and enjoyable for everyone. However, many of those who travel back home or spend their holidays elsewhere often begin it with a frown. Right from the start of their trip, many are already stressed and annoyed by the influx of people at airports. Long queues and general disorder often take place and most think they cannot do anything but mutter under their breaths and wait.
This is not true of course. Smart travelers always take extra steps to make sure they are not caught in the usual airport frenzy. Follow our airport survival guide to ease, or even to avoid, the pain of holiday rushes at airports.
1.) Book an early flight. Morning flights usually depart on time. Delays and cancellations often occur as the day progresses. So if you want to reach your destination earlier, choose an earlier flight. In addition, airport crowds are not as busy in the morning as compared to those later in the day.
2.) Sign up for email notifications. Flights during the holidays can be very unpredictable. Delays and cancellations are frequent. Sign up for email notifications or check the status of your flight online before leaving the house. This is more convenient and practical compared to learning about cancellations or delays at the airport.
3.) Hit the net. Hit the internet for online check-ins and other fees that you could pay in advance to spare you the trouble of long queues and front desk processes. Checking in online will secure you a seat and will lessen your chances of being bumped from your flight (if it is oversold). During online check in as well, some airlines allow their customers to prepay for overweight, over sized or additional bags already.
Remember: do not forget to print your boarding pass at home after checking in online. If you do not have a printer, opt to pick your boarding pass at a self-service kiosk at the airport.
4.) Study the maps. Familiarize yourself with the airports you are using. Be familiar with its gates, toilets, duty free stores and other important areas before going there to avoid confusion and delays. Getting lost can sometimes eat up too much time and, in some cases, cause you to miss your flight.
5.) Be an early bird. Go to the airport earlier than your expected time of departure (ETD) to avoid security and check in queues. Airport management suggests coming two hours earlier if it is a domestic flight, and three hours earlier for an international flight. During the holidays, the swarm of people traveling will slow down all security checkpoints.
6.) Prepare for security checkpoints. Security checkpoints generally have the longest queues because of the lack of preparation from most people. You can speed up the screening process by having your boarding pass and ID readily available and wearing easy-to-remove shoes and outerwear. Avoid wearing or carrying metallic items, and clear you pockets of any coins or metal objects and put them in the provided trays. Make a conscious effort to bring only the allowed quantity for liquid items.
7.) Have some items shipped. Have some of your items shipped ahead of time to reduce airline luggage fees, which can result to a hefty sum. Cargo companies often have affordable shipment or transfer promos during the peak seasons. Not only will this reduce costs but it will also save you time and effort. There would be no need to wake up extra early just to check-in or to wait tirelessly for bags to appear on the carousel one by one.
8.) Put the earphones aside. While waiting at the airport, take a break from your mp3 player and remove any earphones, headphones, or any accessory that could distract and prevent you from hearing any important announcements.
9.) Have a plan B. Have a backup plan in case the flight is cancelled or delayed. Keep your travel agent’s number or your airline’s hotline on your mobile so you can immediately call them for inquiries or for other travel routes or plans. You should also have a list of accommodations nearby just in case you are stranded.
10.) Organize your hand-carried luggage. We Filipinos seldom travel light, because of all the pasalubong (gifts) we have to bring. The best a combination is a backpack and a trolley. Your backpack should have several pockets, where you can organize all your travel documents, pens, mobile phone and other important items you would need for the flight. Your trolley should follow the allowed size of your airline; it should be sturdy and should have good wheels that are easy to navigate around the airport after check-in.
11.) Don’t say the B word. With the heightened security in all airports, joking about having a bomb in your luggage could cause the evacuation of the whole airport. Thus, this could mean not only a delay or a cancellation of your trip but this could also mean a day or two in jail.
12.) Check the padala (gift items that were requested for you to carry or transport) of your friends. If some friends are asking you to take something for their friends or families, make sure you have seen and inspected what they are sending, so you would know what you are taking with you through security and customs.
13.) Check the amount of money you are carrying. One habit of Filipinos is to send money to their families through their friends going back to the Philippines, if you happen to be that friend, make sure that you know exactly the total amount (normally not only one friend would send money ) you are taking with you. Still an aftermath of the 911 bombings, some airports do random check as part of their increased security measures. If they find you in possession of more than the allowed amount to enter a country they might need to ask you to explain the legitimate source, use of the money, and most likely confiscate it.
14.) Drop Prohibited Food Items. Avoid taking foods that are not allowed in your country destination. Not only would it cause you delay but it could mean seizure of such items.
Having said all that take advantage of the new apps offered in the apps store. Download useful smart phone applications to prepare for any flight problems.
Apps like Flight Track Pro, Hotel Pal, and LiveATC can assist you in familiarizing yourself about the airport facility, track flights, and hotel locations nearby.