There was a time in my life when I traveled all the time. I felt like I lived in airports, broken up only by the occasional bus or train. Spending a lot of time at the airport, you tend to pick up a few things that make the experience of being shuffled through line after line into an aircraft a tiny bit more bearable.
Oh my goodness, lifesaver! I don’t recall when exactly the airlines started allowing you to check into flights digitally the day before, but all I can say is HALLELUJAH! Seriously. Do it. A mere 24-hours in advance of your flight, log into your flight and click “Check-In”.
It will prompt you with some basic questions, answer them and click submit. You can even print your boarding pass at HOME, or keep a copy of it on your smart phone. I always do. If you’re a frequent flyer, you can download the app to that particular airline to set yourself a reminder to check in. Congratulations! You’ve skipped a step, and possibly the line entirely if you have no bags to check. If you do have bags, you can usually check them at curb-side check in which will also help you skip the lines. All of this is made possible by early check in. Phew!
Snacks & Security
I tend to be a thirsty girl, so I travel with an empty water bottle that I can fill once I pass the check points. I also tend to bring my own travel snacks because who honestly can say they like the peanuts? Plus have you tried to buy a bottle of water or bag of Doritos at the shop inside? Highway robbery! Pack a few things to tide yourself over and avoid the hassle.
As for clothing... Ladies, and some of you gentlemen, beware of bedazzle. They will make the machine beep. Then the TSA has to use their magic wand to check to make sure your painted on jeans are clear of whatever they think is hiding in your posterior. Also, shoes. Make sure they’re easy on, easy off. I think I haven’t worn real shoes through that line in three years. I keep it to flip flops and slip-ons. The security line is long enough. I don’t want to fumble around trying to lace my boots or buckle my heels.
The airlines seem to have done away with a majority of the mess that is boarding. If you’re assigned a seat, you know your boarding group. If you’re flying something like Southwest, you’re STILL assigned a boarding group. Don’t be that shmuck that KNOWS he’s boarding last but is the first to line up. We’re all going to the same place. Cutting in line is not going to get row A to the destination any faster than row Z. Besides, they're pretty clear about the order so follow the flight crews directions and no one will get hurt. Personally, I prefer to sit towards the rear of the plane anyway (if I’m not in a rush to catch a connecting flight). I’m usually closer to the bathrooms AND, on occasion, the smaller airports will have folks exit from both ends of the plane. It’s win-win.
Baggage – Claim
It amazes me that people do the same thing at baggage claim that they do when boarding the plane. Newsflash folks, your bag will only get to you when it gets to you. Crowding the carousel and not letting people behind you grab their luggage will only slow things down. Take a step back and enjoy the new air at the new destination. I realize New York might smell like Subway and Seattle smells like fish, but come on. That’s half the fun of travel. Take a hot minute to appreciate the fact you’re somewhere new, keep a keen eye on the turning steel conveyer belt, and grab your things when they come to you.