Airport Travel Tips

Think like a Boy Scout and be prepared

The list of dos and don'ts concerning air travel and airports is an epic tome these days - and it gets longer with each incident. If you're a frequent flier, do yourself a favor and keep abreast of the myriad changes that airport authorities, airlines, police and security have implemented.

To illustrate the point, we've put together a catch-all list. You're welcome.

Dos

  • Pack with security screening in mind. While most regulations claim nail files are acceptable, it's not worth getting into an argument over and missing your flight. If in doubt, leave it out.
  • Leave early for the airport - some airlines suggest being at the airport three hours before a flight. It's your responsibility if you miss your flight - and your expense.
  • Take airport security seriously and heed the directions of screeners, airport officials and airline employees. Joking will likely land you in trouble - or cause you to miss your flight.
  • Put your valuables in your hand luggage before the screening point.
  • In-flight food is rarely free - and almost never nutritious - so bring your own healthy snacks. Also, it's a good idea to bring your own pillow, diversions and reading material.
  • Take advantage of speedy check-in services like online, curbside or self-service options.
  • Everyone tries to buy colorful luggage, but the best identifier is an ID tag and a bright ribbon that makes it stand out.
  • Request a bulkhead or an exit-row seat. These offer plenty of hard-to-get legroom.
  • Make your airline aware of any special needs (e.g., wheelchairs) you have so that they can accommodate them with ease.
  • Get travel (medical) insurance if you are flying out of the country - you never know when you'll need it.

Don'ts

  • Don't ever make jokes about bombs. Airport security will put a halt to your plans quickly for overt remarks.
  • Don't put locks on your checked luggage. Handlers will cut them off if your bags are flagged for a search.
  • Don't drink a lot of coffee or alcohol before a flight. It'll dehydrate you, and airline officials might not let you on the flight if you're drunk.
  • Don't leave your luggage alone at any time. Airport security considers all unattended bags a threat.
  • Don't wear restrictive clothing. Seats on modern aircraft are cramped, so those tight jeans will only feel tighter three hours into a long flight.
  • Don't refuse screening or a limited physical search. Security will not let you proceed if you do.
  • Don't forget to bring your documentation to the airport, especially a passport if you are flying internationally.
TravelWise