With spring break right around the corner, most people are flocking to warmer places! After anxiously waiting for the trip you’ve planned, the last thing you want to do is stress yourself to the max while at the airport. If you fail to plan ahead, your time at the airport could quickly become a nightmare. Here are some ways we make flying a smooth and simple process.
Whether you’re a frequent flyer or not, chances are you will find yourself at an airport you’ve never been to before. Since each airport is uniquely different, this may stress you out, so don’t be scared to look up a map online. By looking at the map you can get a feel for where all the terminals are and where the best food is. This will save you time and confusion.
Before you pack your bags, make sure you know all the bag requirements for your airline. Each airline has a different procedure and sometimes they can change their policy with little to no announcement. For example, American Airlines allows you to take one carry-on bag and one personal item. Your personal item could be a purse, pillow, backpack, etc.
However, if you fly with Frontier they make you pay $35 for a carry-on bag if you purchase it through their website up to 24 hours before your scheduled flight. If you wait to check in your bag until you arrive at the airport, they will charge you $45…just for your carry on bag. Their prices vary for checked luggage as well. It’s better to do your research and make sure your bags fit the requirement. If you are boarding the plane and they notice your bag is too big, they will literally pull you out of line and make you pay for your bag and charge you $60! We’ve seen this happen and it’s all because they didn’t do their research and just assumed every airline had the same policies.
Click the links below to view the baggage policies for common American airlines:
Any bags that you are carrying onto the plane will need to go through security. (Keep in mind that security will not tell you if your bag is too big.) You also cannot have any liquid products over 4 oz. This means if you have a full bottle of sunscreen, perfume, toothpaste, shampoo etc. they will tell you to check in your bag or throw away the product. This happens so often that airport security have trash bins at each station ready to throw away products. We’ve seen this happen and it looks like a traumatizing event! Nothing worse than buying full-size supplies and having them thrown away before using them. Not to mention, you’ll have to buy the products at your final destination, which will probably be more expensive. You can find travel-friendly bottles and products at stores like Walmart or Target. There is usually a wall filled with tiny sized items specifically for traveling!
If you are taking a larger suitcase that cannot be a carry-on due to size and weight, checking the bag in is your only option. Again, make sure you research how much your airline charges so you’re not caught off guard when you arrive at the ticketing desk! Typically, they cost around $15-$30 for your first bag. Most times, when you buy your flight online, the airline will give you an opportunity to check-in a bag at a reduced cost if you purchase it with your ticket. If you know you will be checking in your bag prior to the flight, take advantage of the discount!
The great thing about technology is that you can now use your phone as your boarding pass! No more printing out pieces of paper and trying to keep track of them all! When you receive your boarding pass electronically, always, always, ALWAYS take a screenshot of it, because while technology seems great, it has its glitches and we all know how pesky the Airport WiFi can be. Even if you don’t end up using the screenshot, it’s important to have the backup.
Next, give yourself enough time to park your car, check your bag, get through security, and find your gate. What time are you flying? Is it at 5am when there is no traffic or 5pm during rush hour? Are you flying the day after a holiday when all of America is flying? And don’t forget about that long security line! If you are tense getting to the airport you will be tense until you get on the plane. Typically, domestic flights suggest arriving 2 hours before your flight and 3 hours for an international flight. It never hurts to be there too early.
You can make your life and the lives around you 5x less stressful if you pay attention and know what’s expected while going through security. Before they let you take your belongings through security, they will ask you for your ID and boarding pass. Too many people spend 20 minutes in line watching people go through the process and then when it’s their turn, they are fumbling around searching for their documents because they weren’t paying attention.
When it’s time to have your belongings checked, make sure you take off anything that could possibly set the alarm off such as jewelry, electronics, belts, watches, etc. If you’re traveling with smaller children, keep in mind that they are expected to walk through security as well. Oh, and don’t forget to wear matching socks! 😉
After you make it through security and find your gate, you’ll be tempted to shop around. Everyone loves a good book and snack on the plane, but these leisurely items can add up quickly when purchased within the airport because they always jack up the prices. Pack snack sized items in your carry-on and purchase your reading material beforehand. Don’t forget those headphones either!
Hope this post helped! Happy Traveling!