Friday, May 27, 2016

How To Deal With Airport Delays This Summer

There has been much in the news lately about the excessive delays at the TSA checkpoints in the airports. This summer is expected to be one of the biggest air travel summers on record, so putting the two together it's not hard to foresee some potential problems ahead.

SEattle Sea-Tac Airport

Here are some tips to get you thru it.

Get to the airport early.

Like really early. For domestic flights be there a minimum of 2 hours ahead. For international at least 3 hours ahead. Yes it is totally inconvenient to sit at the gate for a couple of hours, but it is much worse to miss your flight because you are in long lines at the security checkpoint.
Airlines are having an added problem in that flights are full, and they can't necessarily get you onto the next flight, so you could find yourself stranded.

Plan ahead.

Plan your outfit to make it as quick and easy as possible to get through security. The more layers and belts and jewelry and bags etc that you have to offload, the longer it is going to take and the more fractious everyone around you is going to be.
Wear something simple, but all your bangles and bracelets etc inside your handbag, wear shoes that can slip on and off and don’t cause delays while you are unlacing them.
Have your laptop out, keep all your toiletries in clear or ziplock bags – basically streamline your game.
Chicago Midway

Be Nice.

Even when everyone around you is being an ass.
Imagine how it must feel to have your entire day filled with angry and aggressive people. That is how it is for TSA agents and gate crew, all day, every day. It must be hell.
I was reading today that TSA agents are the lowest paid of the government workers, are mostly hired as part timers so don’t get benefits, and generally have a really tough time of it. So no matter what is going on, be nice.
If you let yourself get agitated and stressed out you just make everything worse anyway, and it won’t get you to your gate any faster.
3000 bags missed their flight at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport

Avoid The Bad Airports.

If you can, route your trip through an easier airport. It may take a little research, or driving further than you wanted to, but it can be well worth it.

I won’t fly through Chicago O’Hare, as every time I have flown through there, there have been delays and problems.
Last year I flew back to America via JFK twice. What a nightmare. I think the main attributes they look for when hiring TSA agents at JFK are hostility and being a colossal asshole. Every single person working there was not just scowling, but going out of their way to be an ass. The first of the two was in September. The lines were ridiculously long, they were refusing to let pre check people the pre check line, just to be dicks – it was quite something. I luckily had oodles of time so it didn’t matter that my entire layover was spent standing in their stupid lines, but other travelers were in tears, which I think was the TSA agents’ goal. I kept thinking it could be worse – I could be at La Guardia.
Funnily enough four days later I was flying to Australia out of the Tom Bradley terminal at LAX. The difference was like night and day. Firstly, the Bradley terminal is an airport to be proud of. It’s modern, sleek and ridiculously chic. You would think you were in Dubai. Furthermore every airport worker you encounter smiles. The TSA still deal with the same volume of people as JFK, maybe even more, but everything moves along smoothly. What I noticed most was how chill the other travelers were when everyone was treating them nicely.

If you haven’t booked your airline tickets yet, look at the other airports nearby – they might make for an easier trip.

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