Words by Carlie Tucker
There are certain travel habits that we all have we just can't seem to shake. It's almost become part of the travel routine. And though you may not think much of these little quirks, you could unknowingly be driving your fellow travellers crazy. Particularly when you're tackling the hustle and bustle of the airport. In the name of the greater good, it may be time to rethink these five common bad airport habits.
Not managing your time properly
Perhaps your connecting flight time frame was a little too tight, or maybe your morning alarm didn't go off. Whatever the reason, the occasional last minute rush to the gate is forgivable. But, if you make a habit of running late, you may want to change up your travel strategy.
Standing in the check-in or security line, impatiently watching those in front of you while you dread missing your flight is stressful for you and those around you. Yeah, we can tell that you're on edge as you shift from foot to foot with heavy sighs. And think of those already on the plane that have to wait as you somehow manage to scramble to the gate just in time for the ground crew to hold the plane.
Next time you're travelling, make sure to give yourself enough time to handle any unexpected surprises:
- Check traffic conditions.
- Account for busy airport times.
- Check-in online.
- Skip checked luggage.
- Arrange a taxi or driver ahead of time.
Holding up the security line
We've all been stuck behind that person in the airport security line that waits until the last second to prepare. All of a sudden, they're next and they're just starting to pull out that laptop, struggle with the world's most complicated shoe laces or take an inventory of more metal accessories than any human should ever wear. After all of that they still manage to set off the alarm. Don't be that person.
Plan your security line routine for domestic and international travel so you can breeze through with little more than a slight pause to grab your belongings. Here's how:
- Keep your laptop in an easily accessible pocket of your carry-on.
- Minimise accessories and don't carry anything in your pockets aside from your wallet.
- Adhere to liquid, aerosol and gel restrictions (100mls) and store them in a clear plastic bag at the top of your carry-on so you can quickly grab them.
- Wear slip-on shoes that you can easily slip off as you approach.
- Once through security, don't clog up the area as you put everything back together. Grab your things and move away to a seat or spot out of the way.
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This is one of those things that we probably don't think much about. When you approach your gate, you sidle up to a chair, set all of your things on the seat next to it and sit down to wait for your boarding call. Or maybe you've had a particularly long day and you find a row of empty seats and decide to lay down as you wait for the next leg of your journey.
Taking up more than one seat may not be much of a nuisance if you're flying on the red eye and the airport is quiet, but be more considerate if you're hitting the airport at peak hour travel times. Put your bag(s) on the floor between your feet. If you feel like you really need to lay down, find a quiet corner on the floor, or invest in a lounge membership with comfier chairs that allow you to stretch your legs.
Crowding the gate
While it may seem like a great idea to stalk around the gate in order to be the first in the boarding line, you could be making those around you just as anxious to get on the plane. Once one person impatiently lines up, a crowd will follow. Pretty soon a long line has formed at the gate before boarding has even been announced!
We all know how slow the boarding process can be, particularly if you're caught up behind an over-packer that insists on carrying on an inappropriate amount of luggage. But, keep in mind that though you may not be first on the plane, your assigned seat isn't going anywhere.
If you really can't take the slow march down the aisle, it's just as effective to wait until the end of the boarding line when everyone else has had a chance to find their seats. You'll be among the last on the plane, which means you can stroll to your seat with minimal disruption.
Crowding the baggage carousel
Speaking of crowding, the baggage carousel is perhaps the worst spot for over anxious travellers pushing to the front. It's prone to people wanting to grab their bags and get out of there as fast as they possibly can. But being at the edge of the carousel blocking everyone's view doesn't actually make your bag come off the plane any quicker.
Next time you find yourself impatiently moving closer and closer, take a step back. It's just as easy to spot your bag and step forward to collect it. It also makes it easier for everyone to do the latter as they don't have to contend with bodies crowded around when they're trying to lug their bag off the line. If you're worried you'll miss your bag in the sea of other identical luggage, here are a few things that will make it easier to spot from afar:
- Buy luggage that's any colour other than black. The brighter the better.
- Use unique and easily identifiable luggage tags.
- Tightly tie a bright ribbon, chord or piece of fabric around the handle.
- Buy a bright luggage belt to wrap around it.
- Cover your hard-side bag with travel stickers, or get creative with some paint.