Ah, the airport – a veritable hell of long lines, frisky officers, expensive meals and bad coffee. But to get to where we want to go, we must overcome. We want to share some helpful airport hacks and tips on how to make flying suck less.
We do a lot of traveling, both to meet with our users and to keep our global team in touch. We’re also rather impatient when it comes to idling and waiting, so it’s safe to say we have quite a lot to say on the subject.
The bottom line is this – airports can be a real hassle, and the quicker we get through them, the better.
We’ve provided some written tips after the jump, but first, take a look at this infographic which in theory should explain all:
(click to enlarge)
Oh and if you think your friends might like this, you can tweet this infographic here!
PRO AIRPORT HACKS
1. Do it online
Most airlines have joined the modern era by now and online check-ins are more and more common. If you’re traveling light, this allows you to skip the check-in queue altogether. Since airports are little else than endless queues, this is a good thing.
Also, when you check in online you might get a better choice of seats (if you’re quick enough).
2. Queue close to the business desk
The business queue is pretty empty most of the time and if it gets too quiet for too long, they’ll start pulling in people from the regular line next to it, potentially making it move along quicker. Picking the line next to the business queue might save you quite a bit of time.
3. Get a private jet
This option sounds like a fantasy, but private jet operators do offer incredibly cheap seats on their aircraft in situations where the alternative is not to sell seats at all. Keep in mind that these are almost always last minute deals, but if you’re willing to take the chance, you might strike gold.
Security Area Hacks
Mmm yes – everyone’s favorite for sure. It’s your duty as a human being to make this line move along as quickly as possible.
1. Pack strategically
You know they’ll be screening your electronic devices separately, so make sure they are easy to pull out of your baggage. Bottom of the underwear pile is literally the worst place for your laptop in this situation.
Same goes for zip lock bags with liquids – make sure you can get them out of your baggage quickly.
2. Pick the left line
Some studies suggest that since most people are right-handed, they’ll instinctively pick queues on the right-hand side. This means that typically there’s less people in the queues to your left. Unless you queue with too many people that have heard of this tip, you could easily shave off some time at the screening station.
3. Know the rules
It might be a 15th-century ceremonial dagger to you, but to airport security, it’s a sharp metal object. Make sure you’re familiar with rules regarding what can and can’t be brought on board an aircraft. Most of these rules are pretty universal, but it seems people still forget that bigger liquid containers are a no-no.
4. Empty your pockets
Nothing wastes time more than fumbling with change before going through the metal detector. You’re queueing for security, not groceries, so don’t have anything on your person that you don’t absolutely need at that point. Keep your keys and coins in the hand baggage till you’ve cleared security.
Hanging at the Gate
The worst is over, but there’s a lot you can do to be more efficient with your waiting time.
1. Your gate is your castle
For the most up-to-date flight information, head to your gate as soon as they announce it. It’s not that the big information screens are inaccurate, but the gate always has the better information. It’s also easier and quicker to pick up on unexpected delays and changes – and these do happen.
2. Bring a power splitter
It’s always good to fully charge all your devices before heading to the airport, but sometimes you’ll be in for a longer wait and might start running out of juice.
Power outlets can sometimes be scarce. To alleviate this problem, get yourself a power splitter. They’re lightweight, cheap and carry the added benefit of helping you make new friends.
3. Use headphones… for silence
Sure, they’re essential if you want to watch a movie, but consider using them for noise cancellation. Our own Liisa does this a lot – mostly to block out noise while she’s working. Keeping her headphones unplugged, however, prevents her from missing any important announcements.
4. Excersise (sort of)
Our office manager Evelin has an interesting routine – she uses the longer waiting periods to fill in her daily physical activity, walking up and down the long corridors to stay on top her daily step count.
This is it – it’s go time!
Except that’s it’s not. You know full well that once you get to your seat, you’ll easily be spending another 30 minutes sitting in the plane before it goes anywhere.
1. Don’t rush the gate
You have your seat – the plane’s not gonna leave without you. Some people like to queue up the second an attendant appears at the desk, but you should know better than that.
If you stay put until the line starts to clear, you can use the extra time to squeeze in some work.
2. Be the last to board the plane
When you’re the last to board the plane and the aircraft is not full, you might be able to get yourself a better seat. If you have an aisle ticket in the toilet row, see if there’s a better spot somewhere else.
Oh, and if you’re cocky enough and can pull a good poker face, you might even get away with upgrading yourself to first class!
If you have any tips you think would help us at the airport the next time, you’re welcome to drop them in the comments!
Mart has a background in anthropology - a discipline which has turned people-watching into a science. He most enjoys working on projects that make you go from “that’s stupid” to “hmmm”.