Whether you travel for personal or business reasons (or both), there’s a good chance that the least enjoyable part of your journey is spending hours inside yet another crowded, uncomfortable airport — and let’s not forget the endless announcements and screaming babies.
Do we have a magic wand that will turn your dreadful airport experience into a blissful one?
Unfortunately, no. But we can certainly reveal a list of 7 brilliant airport hacks that you’ll love, and wonder how you managed to survive without:
- Tie a colorful ribbon around your luggage, so that you’ll be able to spot it easily at baggage claim.
- Put an empty water bottle in your carry-on (which is fine — only liquids are confiscated at security). When you land, fill it up in the bathroom to avoid having to purchase a ridiculously overpriced bottle of water.
- When choosing the check-in or security line, pick those on the left side vs. the right side. Why? Because statistically, most people use their right hand, and as such, they subconsciously head toward lines on the right side.
- Speaking of security check-in: if you’re flying in and out of airports in the U.S., don’t be fooled by the “business class” security check-in. There is no such thing. As far as the TSA is concerned, all passengers are equal. Airlines simply do this to try and pretend that business class passengers get a special perk.
- Be patient and try and be the last person (or among the last group) to board a flight. Why? Because you may be able to pick another empty seat instead. If so, make sure that you ask the flight attendant, and be as nice and friendly as possible.
- Bring portable wipes and hand sanitizers in your carry-on. You’d be surprised — actually, make that horrified — to discover just how much bacteria, skin flakes, and other unwelcome things are flying with you. Pay particular attention to an item that research has revealed is usually the dirtiest. Regardless of how it may look to the naked eye: the seatback (or armrest) tray.
- If layover or delay forces you to wait, then instead of sticking next to hundreds of other passengers, head over to an empty gate. Where you’ll probably have plenty of space to yourself — not to mention, ample outlets to charge your laptop, smartphone, and iPod. Speaking of your iPod: be warned. The number one reason that passengers miss their flight isn’t that they fell asleep. But because they were grooving to music on their iPod (or any other portable audio device), and didn’t hear the boarding call announcements!
The Bottom Line
Until someone invents Star Trek-like beaming technology, spending time in airports is a necessary evil. Whether you’re heading off on a fun family vacation, a business conference, a training workshop to boost your collaboration skills, or any other reason. However, if you adopt any or all of the hacks above, your experience will be much more positive. Hacks, you may even start looking forward to going to the airport!