Everyone loves how easy flying has made long-distance travel, but few people enjoy the actual process of dealing with the airport and airlines. If it’s not the tight seating quarters on the airplane cramping your style, it’s the incredibly long lines at airport security.
While the these travel headaches are frequently exhausting (and expensive), it’s important to note that there are always ways around them.
Just take these 26 incredibly useful airport hacks, for example. Use these, and your next trip to the airport will be a breeze…
1. Use the TSA’s PreCheck option: It’s easy, you can visit the TSA PreCheck website or even Global Entry. This method of checking in is practically like getting an upgrade to your flight before you’re even in the air. You’ll fly through security and get on the plane in a flash.
2. Consider taking the red-eye to avoid airport traffic: If you’re easily bothered by the long lines and congested walkways in any given airport, then consider flying to your destination overnight. There are sure to be fewer people, so you’ll be happy you did.
3. Use airport parking reservations apps: Everyone knows that airport parking is a huge hassle. With this application, you can check into a spot before you arrive to the airport, and you won’t have to worry about driving in circles looking for a place to park.
4. Use the My TSA application on your phone: This app is a lifesaver at the airport. Among its many amenities, it allows you to check whether or not any given flight is on time or delayed. Not to mention, it points out the location of security lines at all airports.
5. Try using the security line on the left side of the room: As most people tend to be right-handed, they will likely go towards the right when they enter the room. So be smart and head for the left, and you can save several minutes.
6. Avoid the security lines with multiple TSA agents: There’s a good chance that at any desk with multiple agents, one of them is being trained. If so, they’ll take longer to get you through, as they’ll want to demonstrate how to check efficiently. The single agent is your best option.
7. Pack your smaller items in Ziploc bags: It’s easy to misplace the small travel-sized items inside of your packed suitcase that you bring with you on a flight. So, keep them all together in one neat spot and you’ll be able to locate them in a flash.
8. Pack your suitcase to the brim so you can bring liquids inside: This one’s risky, so be cautious. But the more things you pack into your suitcase, the more likely you’ll be able to sneak a bottle of water through an X-ray machine.
9. Freeze liquids so you can bring them through security: It turns out that if you have frozen liquids, the TSA should allow you to bring them through the security check. Just be sure that they don’t melt before you make it to the airport.
10. Pack an empty water bottle: If you’re looking to avoid the extremely high-priced beverages that can be found in the airport, try packing an empty bottle. This way, when you get through security, you can fill up at the water fountain for free!
11. Download a mobile boarding pass and take a screenshot: No one wants to be behind the person in line who can’t sign into their airline app to access their boarding pass. If you take a screenshot, you’ll be able to locate it without having to load it.
12. Avoid using the luggage carts: Here’s a helpful tip, since airport carts tend to be rather pricey. Try walking around to see if anyone has left their’s out after they were finished. Chances are you’ll be able to find one in a jif.
13. Airline loyalty pays off big time: If you have a favorite airline, be sure to stick with them. Customer loyalty has a way of paying off with things like frequent flyer miles, lounge access, upgrades, and even priority when boarding your flight.
14. Download the GateGuru application on your mobile phone: This app has everything you could ever possibly need to know about an airport. From the departure times and arrivals to the locations of bathrooms, lounges, and restaurants, it’s an absolute must-have.
15. Use the AirGrub application: This app allows you to avoid the horrendous lines at airport restaurants. By entering your flight number, a member of the staff will receive your order and bring it right to where you’re sitting!
16. Utilize the free WiFi by the airport lounge: As most airport lounges are customized with free WiFi, you’ll be able to get access to it, so long as you’ve got the password and you’re within range.
17. Download Foursquare to check for other free WiFi hotspots: This app can come in handy in a big way. That’s because it features reviews from other people like you who’ve previously traveled in and eaten at the restaurants you’re thinking about trying there.
18. See if you can access the lounge free of cost: While most airport lounges are a members-only type of deal, there’s a chance that if you approach them in a nice manner and ask politely, they might let you sit inside free of charge.
19. Download the Lounge Buddy application on your phone: Let’s assume that you’re a member of the lounge. By downloading this app, you’ll know exactly where to go from the second you enter the airport.
20. Purchase the airport lounge pass: If you travel a lot, you might want to consider just springing for a pass. You’ll always have a comfortable place to relax, eat some food, and possibly even have a nice drink. Give it a whirl.
21. Pack an electrical outlet splitter in your bag: There’s nothing more annoying than trying to find a spare electrical outlet at an airport. Since you’ll likely have multiple things to plug in, bring a splitter and charge everything you need at once.
22. Find the best spot to grab a quick nap to recharge your batteries: Sure, it’s difficult to find a proper place to get some real sleep at an airport, but the website Sleepinginairports.net hopes to change that. The site gives you the best locations in airports all around the world to at least attempt to get some shut-eye.
23. Skip the lines to rebook your flight: While most people whose flight has been cancelled head for the desk, skip the line and just call your airline directly. That way, you can move past the lines.
24. Tweet to different airlines: It can be mind-numbing to try to get a gripe across to an airline agent, but research has found that these companies are much more responsive when an issue is addressed online. So try tweeting it to them and watch as they answer you right away.
25. Feel free to ask questions and if upgrades are available to you: It goes without saying, but most people are too timid to ask for an upgrade. The worst thing that could happen is someone tells you “no.” So see what they’ll give you and you’ll be happy you asked!
26. Try to dress as nicely as possible: If you’re looking to get a possible bump to first class, free of charge, then try dressing a little nicer. Not a suit, but just not too dressed-down, either. Agents are more likely to upgrade someone who fits a first class image.
These sure are helpful tips. You’re going to save a ton of time and money if you use all of them, that’s for sure!
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