Our Top 20 Airport tips – to make your trip easy
Read our latest Travel Tips Thursday blog. This week we focus on preparing for your flight and navigating the airport. Here are our Top 20 Airport Tips.
Before you arrive at the airport.
1 – Download the airline app
Most airlines have apps you can download on your smartphone that will alert you if your flight is delayed or cancelled. Once there, the information on the app is often more current than the arrival-departure screens in the terminal.
It is also worth downloading the airport app as this will give you up to date special offers and let you know of traffic issues on approach to the airport.
2 – Download a live flight tracker
We use both Flight Aware and the FLIO app. Useful for tracking live flight information. FLIO offers comprehensive airport information, including discounts on restaurants, VIP parking and lounges. It also has airport maps, great when you need to find the toilets in a hurry.
3 – Download offline maps
Google Maps allows you to download offline maps, so you can be prepared for your arrival at your destination and know exactly where you are heading – without the worry of finding WiFi.
4 – Check in online to save time and get the best seats
You can leave it until 24 hours before your flight if not bothered where you sit – then it is free. If you prefer to choose where you will be sitting use SeatGuru, which tells you the best seat for every model of plane. Offering info such as best legroom and charging points etc.
Don’t check in at the airport unless you have an issue you need help with. Most airlines won’t allocate a seat until check in, so all of the best seats will have gone. Checking in online gives the airline an indication you are intending to travel so they are less likely to overbook the plane.
Print or download your boarding pass ahead of time, as many airlines charge to print a pass at the airport now.
5 – Consider buying a pass to the airport lounge
If you don’t have the benefit of annual courtesy passes with your credit card or bank account – then consider buying a day pass. Costs vary from airport to airport, but it can make for a more pleasant experience, especially if you have a long-haul flight ahead. Seating is comfortable and most food and drinks are free. Look out for special offers on day passes. If you have an annual pass, do try and reserve ahead as it is possible to be turned away if the lounge is at capacity.
6 – Choose the right travel outfit
Pack a scarf, wrap or jumper, and a pair of warm socks. Airplanes can be chilly, especially near the exits. As well as keeping you warm, they can be used as a pillow. Layering is a good idea so you can adjust if you feel hot or cold. Choose loose fitting clothing made from natural fibres.
If on a long-haul flight, then perhaps take an outfit to change into before disembarking. Alternatively change into leisurewear or PJs for the duration of the flight.
You’ll find a whole wealth of packing and travel tips over on our Pinterest account.
7 – Mark your luggage
There is nothing worse than at the end of the trip waiting at baggage collection for your baggage to arrive. Staring monotonously at all the similar black suitcases. Tie a brightly coloured ribbon or add another marker such as big stickers to your baggage to make it easily identifiable. Then you can make a swift getaway.
8 – Bring an empty bottle and pack your own snacks
If you’re on a budget, pack your own snacks as airport and airline food is expensive. Avoid packing nuts as often someone with an allergy will be flying and you will be asked not to eat them on the plane. Bring an empty water bottle, so that once you are through security you can fill it from one of the free water fountains.
9 – Pack a portable power bank
A portable charger is not only useful during a long flight. Often at airports you will find that there are huge crowds around the free charging points. You might get to a charger, but you will probably have to watch your device from a distance.
Some can be heavy so check their reviews and you want it to charge your phone fully at least once. They can be used to charge your phone when in flight mode ensuring you have full charge on landing. Note, you should switch to flight mode during your flight. Not only for safety but also to stop your battery draining because your phone is searching for networks.
A multi adaptor is useful too, then more than one member of the family can use it at the same time. Additionally, if all the charging stations are occupied a fellow traveller is likely to share a charge point with you if you have one.
10 – Put small items in your carry on
Keys and coins etc can be a nuisance – especially when you have to empty your pockets at security. Store them in a zip-lock in your carry on. Have a separate zip-lock for in-flight essentials and make sure it is easy to reach.
Label prescription medicine and keep in original packaging before putting it in a clear zip-lock. Always carry prescription medicine with you and not in the hold.
In fact, always carry spare zip-locks, they always come in handy. Some airports now charge for clear plastic bags for passing through security.
Tips for navigating the airport
1 – Take pictures of your parking spot
Nothing ruins the holiday mood more than not remembering where you parked the car. Take a few pictures after parking, space number, row number etc and it is one less thing to worry about.
2 – Using the free airport Wi-Fi
Do connect to the free airport Wi-Fi which is widely available nowadays – but remember it is not secure, so do not enter personal information such as passwords when using it. For complete safety we recommend using a VPN.
If the free airport Wi-Fi needs a password, no problem use this link from Readers Digest that gives you access to a worldwide map and all the airport passwords.
3 – Checking a carry on
If you’re checking baggage anyway, then consider checking your hand luggage too. Most airlines will let you do this for free on the day and often calls are made at the gate for people to volunteer to check hand luggage.
Checking it ahead will hopefully ensure it goes on with your main baggage. It can make life much easier, especially if you have a connecting flight. Just ensure that you have essential items stored in a small bag that can go under your seat.
4 – Preparing for security
Remove items like belts, watches, jackets and chunky jewellery, whilst standing in line for security. Footwear with a heel and trainers will need to be removed too. Don’t wear sandals – nothing worse than bare feet on a sticky airport floor. Remove your liquids, remember to stick to the 3-1-1 rule of 100mls or 3.4 oz.
You’ll also need to remove any electrical items – so have these ready at the top of your hand luggage or in an easily accessible zipper pocket. Items like laptops and tablets need to be shown, hairdryers and electric toothbrushes do not.
5 – Always have your boarding pass and ID documents close to hand
Keep the security agent sweet, have your paperwork ready to be presented – even better have your passport open on the correct page and your boarding pass ready.
If your ID is on your phone, consider switching off the sleep screen until you are through security – saves the frustration of standing at the check in desk and having to wake up your phone. I also turn off calls through this process as I once had someone continuously ring when I was trying to present a boarding pass.
6 – Wear glasses
The aeroplane is a very dry environment, so glasses are better than contact lenses for the duration of the flight, even if you swap to contacts on arrival.
7 – Wear your heaviest clothes
If you find you are close to or over the limit for your hand baggage, then wear your heaviest items. If you have a jacket, put the heavier items in your pockets. Once through security they can be added back into your hand luggage.
Guides often recommend asking for a carrier bag in one of the airport shops to put these items in. But be aware that most airlines don’t allow duty free carry on anymore, so this is unlikely to be useful.
8 – Take a photo of your checked luggage
Really useful if your luggage should go astray on arrival, you can give the photos to the airport staff that are searching for your luggage.
9 – Head to the left at security
It is advised that most people turn towards their dominant hand at security, so with a larger percentage of the population being right-handed it should be quieter if you turn to the left.
Another tip is to utilise the check in closest to the first and business class counters, they tend to be quieter, and agents will often call forward economy passengers to help with the queues.
10 – Keep an eye on departure boards
You need to keep an eye on flight boards – it has been known for gates to change after they have been announced etc.
Be careful with noise cancelling headphones as you may miss important announcements and don’t want to miss your flight!
Thanks for reading our top 20 airport tips
This is the second blog in our new series, Travel Tips Thursday! For more information on all things travel and Spain, follow us on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram or Youtube. Or you can sign up to our once a month VIP newsletter here. Thanks for reading, we would love to know if you have any great tips to share!