6 Ways to Get Through the Airport Unscathed

Flying used to be a noble thing. Kind of like what space travel is today. It was something that only the richest, most powerful people could even have a chance at, and even as it started to become more commercially accessible to the public, it was still a regal thing to do. You got a meal and you were treated right.


Photo by Karl Baron


Fast-forward to today and forgetaboutit. Most of us have had the demoralizing experience of going through an airport once or twice at least, and it definitely is demoralizing. You get poked and prodded and yelled at and made to wait. And charged a hefty sum for your troubles.


So just how does one survive the airport without going absolutely mad? Here are a few tips for how to keep your sanity.


1) Arrive early. This might seem counterintuitive at first, considering it means that you actually have to spend more time in the airport. However, having more time means not having to rush, and it is really rushing that makes airports the worst. I mean, if you are standing in a huge line for security and your flight leaves in 10 minutes, I can guarantee the the hair-pulling is going to start. Give yourself at least two hours, or a little more if you don’t know your way around the airport well.


2) Check-in online. Even if you have bags to check in or aren’t sure about the process, if given the opportunity to check in online, take it. It usually speeds things up at the airport and sometimes allows you to skip the line altogether and just print your boarding passes.


3) Check your bags. This might also sound counterintuitive, given all the horror stories that circulate about bags being lost. In fact, in all my years of flying, I have only ever had 2 bags go missing, both of which eventually got returned to me. The thing is, carrying bags through security is a complete nightmare. You have to take half the contents OUT before you even get to the checkpoint, and you risk having the bag searched altogether. Once through the security line, you then have to lug the bag all about the terminal and deal with it on the plane. Really, unless it’s small enough to be a shoulder bag or briefcase, checking it can just be easier.


4) Prepare for the security line. I am talking serious preparations. Get your laptop out. Wear shoes that can slip on and off easily. Forego the belt and, for goodness sake, make sure that you have your toiletries in one of those plastic ziploc baggies! One of the most stressful things about flying is dealing with the security check, so you can at least make it easier on yourself by coming prepared.


5) Limit your carry-ons. I am serious people. Don’t try to bring the entire farm in your carry-on bag. That is just a pain in the neck (literally). Here is what you need in your carry-on: book, magazine or newspaper, iPod/mp3 player, mobile phone, keys, toiletries, tickets, wallet, laptop, camera, packaged snack. That’s it! Don’t even bother with bottled water or open or home prepared snacks – they’ll be confiscated. Buy them after security, instead.


6) Grab a beer. Now that you’ve arrived two hours in advance and seamlessly gotten through the security line, you’ll have heaps of time before your flight boards, and so reward yourself for all your hard work and fantastic advance planning with a nice drink.