I spend a ton of time in airports.
Whether I'm flying domestically or whether I'm flying internationally it seems as though I am always on my way to the airport. Over the years I've come up with some great tricks to make the airport experience run more smoothly, and I also regularly check travel blogs to pick up more tips.
Here are 10 awesome airport hacks that I use all the time.
Always Dress Nicely And Smile.
Here is a simple fact. When airlines and airport personnel have the opportunity to upgrade someone, be it to first class or to business class or to any other opportunity, they are not going to give it to someone in sweats and an old t shirt who is scowling at them.
I always make sure I'm dressed nicely, keep myself decently groomed, and make sure that no matter what is going down I am always friendly, courteous and kind.
Even when I want to murder someone.
People will go out of their way to help you when you are the sane, calm, empathetic person in the sea of screaming maniacs. I always feel so badly for gate agents when flights are delayed or something is going wrong, and everyone is yelling at them like it's their fault.
I get upgraded all the time, and gate agents are constantly doing me little favors. A friendly smile goes a long way.
Most people are right handed, so when they get to the front of the line they turn right, making the lines on the right-hand side longer and slower. if you turn left instead you will find the line going through security are shorter and move more quickly.
|image via Vogue.com|
You know you are going to go through security, so plan ahead. Think out what you're going to wear on your flight. Remove belts, loose change from pockets, jewelry that will set off the x-ray machine. Only wear a long dress or long skirt if you are planning on having an intimate pat down from an angry TSA chick.
Think out your shoe game so that you are wearing something easy to slip on and off.
Have your laptop at the top of your carry on so that it's quick and easy to reach and your toiletries all packed together in a clear ziplock bag.
Planning ahead simplifies everything for you and all the other travelers waiting in line behind you.
Bring An Empty Water Bottle.
Airport shops charge extortionate amounts for a small bottle of water. Take an empty bottle through security and fill it up from the water fountains on the other side. Most airports now have purified water machines in the gate areas.
Get Gate Guru
I swear by this app. Load your flight details into the app and it will not only tell you which gate your next flight is departing from, which is super helpful when you are making a tight connection, but it will also notify you when your flight is delayed or your gate has changed, long before the airline notifies you. It's brilliant!
Pack An External Battery And/Or A Power Strip
You don't wait to be caught waiting for a delayed flight with no cell phone/iPad/laptop battery life. If you have an external battery you can power back up. There are very few power outlets at each gate and they always seem to be full. If you have a power strip with you not only can you power up but so can the others around you.
I just bought this Anker Mini charger in rose gold (to match my new iPhone)
|Anker Mini charger|
Use The Club Lounge
|Emirates 1st class lounge, Dubai|
Plenty of airline club lounges have one day rates, so even if you are not a member you can take advantage. I fly American Airlines as much as I can, partly due to the fact that I can use their club lounge.
I haven't tried this hack, but I was reading that first class fliers get automatic access into the club lounge, and can bring in a guest. The blogger writing about it said that if you are dressed nicely and are clean and polite you can wait outside the door and get someone to take you in with them.
I'm not sure that I would actually ever do that, but it is a pretty clever idea.
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Rest In The Chapel.
If you are experiencing long delays or have a long layover and you don't have access to a club lounge you can escape the madness going on at the gate by hiding out in the peace and quiet of the chapel. Just make sure you have your Gate Guru notifications turned on so that you know when it's time to go back.
If you are scared of turbulence or get air sick in turbulence, book a morning flight. The factors that cause turbulence tend to occur in the afternoon.
Airport food is notoriously high sodium, high sugar, high fat and high calorie. Guaranteed to bloat you and give you jet lag.
Do yourself a favor (and save yourself a ton of money) by packing healthy snacks. If by any chance you get caught in some major delay at the airport (- hello every time I have ever flown through Chicago O'Hare!) you will be so glad that you did.
|image via Stilettos And Spice|
The image above is from Stiletto And Spice's blogpost Fuel For The Plane