Air travel is no longer the glamourous adventure it once was. No doubt this is due in part to more people traveling, increased security procedures and maybe just a lack of common sense. At any rate, here are some things to avoid doing at the airport to make you a smarter traveler.
1. Uh-Oh! My Passport Is About To Expire.
Don’t forget that when you travel out of the country there are other things to remember. Most countries expect you to have a minimum of six months of valid time on your passport. Some countries, like South Africa, also expect you to have a minimum of two consecutive blank pages left in your passport.
2. Failing To Book A Connecting Flight On The Same Ticket
Smart travelers can sometimes avoid higher air fares by purchasing two individual tickets connecting from one airline to another or between connecting cities. The problem is that while this sounds like a smart idea, it can lead to trouble if you are not careful. You might not have enough time to change planes or have a mishap with your luggage. You have to clear security checks between flights too.
3.Thinking That The Airline Won’t Ever Lose Your Luggage
Even if you have been lucky so far, there’s always a chance that it could someday happen. Make sure each of your bags contains your name, address and phone number inside. Put some stylized duct tape or ribbons on your luggage so it isn’t accidentally picked up by someone else. Carry a change of clothing, your valuables and medication in your carry-ons.
4. Not Planning For Baggage Fees
Unless you’re a Southwest Airlines passenger or perhaps heading abroad, you’ll have to pay baggage fees for your checked luggage. Research your airline’s specific policies. Pay attention to size and weight. Sometimes flying first class or a frequent flier program will help avoid the fees but do your homework.
5.Double Checking And Not Checking
Double check everything. Things such as connecting gate numbers can change in the blink of an eye. If a ticket agent tells you a flight is full and there is no room on standby, doesn’t mean that booked passengers might not be late and thus open seats. Sometimes people are misinformed. Be polite and double check with someone else.
6.Wasting Time In Line
Take advantage of social media teams when it comes to all the travel interruptions. While you wait in line, connect with them online or call their 1-800 number with your smartphone. The truth is you will probably get faster, friendlier service from then then the fatigued airline airport employees who are dealing with crabby, out of sorts fliers.
If you can get into the airport lounge, there are agents there who can help you. The lines are a lot shorter, too. You might decide purchasing a day pass is worth the expedited service and a drink or two while you wait.
7. Thinking TSA Pre-Check Is Always Faster
Pre-Check is a good idea but amateurs can slow things down due to managed inclusion policies that send random passengers to the expedited line. Novices still remove their shoes and electronics in the expedited line even though they do not have to do so. Still, it doesn’t hurt to sign up for it.
8. Rushing Even If You’re In A Hurry
Even though You're standing there barefoot with no belt and all your personal toiletries out for everyone to see, don’t let anyone make you feel rushed. Rushing might cause you to forget something like your wallet or laptop. (Mind you, your laptop should have an ID tag on it anyway.)
9. Losing Track Of Time
Keep track of time and don’t get distracted by duty-free shopping, a long bar menu or an airline lounge with a buffet and comfy seats. Keep track of local time (especially if traveling through time zones). Remember that airlines generally close the door 15 or 20 minutes prior to departure time. It’s no fun to be the sweaty passenger sprinting through the airport at the last minute.
10. Being In Your Own Little World
Don’t be one of those people aimlessly walking around texting with your head down or so into the music on your headphones that you walk into people or slow others down. Remember to be courteous and that if your music is cranked up you won’t hear the airport car. Don’t just stand dead still in the walkway either. Be considerate.