Two hours may seem like an eternity when you’re in a board meeting, but it can zoom by in seconds when it’s the countdown to your flight. Whether it’s scoping out parking, checking your bags, or being held up in a security line, there are multiple ways to get jammed up at the airport. Getting through the airport faster is the aim of these five tips.
Prep for the security check
Ready yourself for the checkpoint before you get to the front of the line. Opt for a checkpoint-friendly laptop bag or case that lets you keep your computer enclosed in it. Stow everything except your ID and boarding pass in your purse or carry-on bag. You don’t want to be stuck fumbling and stuffing items in pockets when it’s finally your turn to pass through.
Dress the part
Slip-on shoes are a must, while excessive jewelry, massive belt buckles and tons of jangling coins in your pockets are a must not. Try to avoid wearing or carrying anything that tends to set off any alarms so your passage through security can be as smooth and efficient as possible.
Enroll in an expedited screening program
TSA PreCheck lets you pay an annual fee for avoiding the long security lines, giving you the authority to speed through a shorter security line into the screening process. Travelers also have the convenience of not having to remove their shoes, belts, jackets or pull laptops and other devices from their carry-on bags. The program was available at 133 airports as of 2015.
CLEAR is another expedited security clearance program, although it’s not affiliated with TSA and so far only available in 13 major airports throughout the US. Here you pay an annual fee and your employees can breeze past the long security lines, moving right to the front of the screening process.
If you can get away with packing only a carry-on bag, you’ve landed on a prime way of getting through the airport faster. Instead of waiting to check your luggage before the flight and pick it up after the flight, you can zip right from your plane seat to your cab seat and head to your ultimate destination.
If you must check in luggage, you can still speed up the process by getting your boarding pass online before you get to the airport and then checking your luggage with the skycaps outside the airport. The standard tip is $1 per bag, although you’re fee to serve up more, of course.
Enjoy time-saving spot-checks
Checking the status of your flight before you leave for the airport is a top way to save tons of time and hassle if your flight time is delayed or the entire flight cancelled. You can often sign up for alerts on the airline’s website, or use tools found at TripIt.com and FlightStats.com.
Some airports also allow you to check the parking lots or pre-pay for a parking space in a select area, taking care of any time-eating parking issues.
Checking in on the security lines in advance is possible with My TSA app, which allows you to view security wait times online or through a mobile app. You can also often find if there are other security areas in the airport that are less crowded.
Knowing all your travel documents are up-to-date and in order is another way to ensure your travel is as efficient, effective and stress-free as possible. Companies can especially benefit from Swift’s corporate passport and visa services that streamline the entire process. Contact us with any questions; Swift is always happy to help!
Laurie Lee is co-founder and CEO of Swift Passport and Visa Services. A Chicago native, Laurie loves adventure travel, especially to the Caribbean. She enjoys writing for the Swift Post, as well as for her personal blog, Spare Parts- www.sparebodyparts.com.