You just have to get through one thing before your holiday trip: the airport, complete with complicated screening procedures and long lines. But a little advance preparation can go a long way in helping you get through all that with minimum fuss.
Put your ID, credit card and boarding pass in an easily accessible part of your wallet or bag before you leave for the airport. There are two reasons for this: one, by going through this exercise, you make sure that you don’t leave home without these crucial items. Two, you don’t waste your time fumbling around for them at the moment you need them.
Do all you can prior to departing. Check one last time on your airline reservations the night before you leave, and then again before you leave for the airport. If you can, print a luggage tag for your checked baggage and your boarding pass. Do the online check in too. Even if you’ve got bags to check, it’s still a good idea to check in online whenever you can, since bag-drop lines tend to be shorter than the check-in lines. In addition, many airlines charge more for baggage at the terminal. You’ll get to skip the ticket counter entirely if you’re going all-carry-on. It’ll save you time and possibly money too.
No matter whether you are going by plane, train, or automobile – be there early before your departure. If you’re going by plane, you’ll want to be there two hours early for domestic flights, or three hours early for international.
Your luggage weight should be watched. Many airlines have recently started introducing fees for a standard checked bag. Not to mention there’s always a hefty fee if they’re overweight or oversized. Before you even start throwing stuff in your suitcase, read up on your airline’s guidelines. Leave what you can behind.
Dress with speed in mind. All airport security checkpoints in the US require you to remove your shoes, coat or jacket, big belt buckles, and pretty much anything else you can easily remove without completely undressing. So do yourself a favour and skip the jewelry, keep your pockets empty, wear a jacket that’s easy to remove and put back on, and avoid shoes that require a lot of lacing or yanking.
Your laptop will have to be removed from its case. Put it in a a bin after removing it from its case, or use a checkpoint-friendly laptop bag that enables easy scanning. For separate screening, you’ll also have to remove full-sized video-game consoles, DVD players, and some video cameras from your baggage.
Also, move to the righthand side. On the moving walkways, if you are not moving stand to the right. If you are walking through the airport, do not stop short without looking behind you. Be aware that other travellers may be trying to make a connection or flight.