For frequent – or even occasional – domestic flyers, making your way through the airport is rarely a simple process. When time is of the essence, it really does pay to have a few tricks up your sleeve to make boarding, flying and landing a hassle-free process.
Here are 8 tips to remember:
1. Check in the day before
Most airlines offer an optional early check-in for passengers, usually up to 24 hours before your domestic flight. Additionally, if you check in online you can also select your seat and even print your boarding pass, or have it sent to your smart device (depending on the airline.) This is especially helpful for weekend or other short trips for which you don’t have any checked luggage. Make sure you check out what your preferred airline offers on this front.
2. Arrive at the airport early
There are few things more stressful than running late for a flight you have to catch. Eliminate the stress by planning to arrive at the airport early. It may sound obvious, but it’s something that even seasoned travellers forget from time to time.
3. Slap on a smile (and a good attitude)
No one can make catching your flight more difficult than airport security. Even though they’re the guys everyone loves to hate, making a fuss over a comparatively minor issue is just not worth it. Whether they’re confiscating a nail file or a tiny aerosol can this time, if it costs less than $10, just grin and bear it. Likewise, if you happen to be selected for an additional security check, it will be far over more quickly if you just cooperate. Sometimes the only way out is through.
4. Be prepared when you reach the security checkpoint
There’s nothing more frustrating than having someone in the cue ahead of you hunting through three different bags for their boarding pass, or trying to hunt out their laptop which is buried at the bottom of a duffel. Be prepared before you reach the checkpoint by having your laptop out and ready, emptying your pockets of any items, and even removing your belt if you think it will set off the detectors.
4. Use your common sense
Some of the most frequently confiscated items at Australian airports include key rings and jewellery made from bullets, toy guns, knuckle dusters, knives, and even live ammunition. A bit of common sense will go a long way in getting you through the airport in good time, so don’t bring anything with you that could possible be construed as dangerous, even if you think it isn’t. If unsure, just assume that airport security staff have absolutely no sense of humour.
5. Fly early, and during the middle of the week
Avoid peak times as much as possible. Although this isn’t always viable for every trip, flying on a Tuesday or Wednesday means less traffic, less flights and less potential for delays. You can reduce the likelihood of delays even further by booking a flight early in the morning. Flight delays tend to have a domino effect; so if you catch an early flight, you’re far less likely to get caught out. Of course, there’s no foolproof method, but by flying early mid-week the odds are more in your favour.
6. Follow flight updates
It’s always a good idea to check the status of your flight a couple of hours before boarding time. It’s even really easy to do so these days; you can check the airline or airport website, or even download an app to keep you up to date with your flight’s status. That way, you can know in real time if your flight has been delayed or cancelled. It may even give you a headstart to rebooking.
7. Travel light
Want to avoid waiting for an hour at the dreaded turnstile? Hand luggage only is the name of the game. Although this isn’t always possible for longer trips, for anything under a week you can probably make it work. Remember; basics first, no more than two pairs of shoes and only the essential toiletries. Your hotel will probably provide more soap and shampoo than you know what to do with.
8. Sit at the front
Remember that seat selection you did the day before your flight? If you want to get off the plane as quickly as possible, choose a seat as close to the front as possible. That way, you avoid the inevitable congestion towards the exits.