Airports today are busier than ever before, and the increasing emphasis laid on thorough security measures can add valuable minutes to the check-in process. While this may not seem like a great deal of trouble for first-time travellers, those extra minutes can go a long way in helping you to board your flight in a calmer, more composed state of mind, giving you a great start to a great travel experience. Start out by referring to this list of tips that can help you to get through check-in faster and with ease.
- Be prepared
Simple things such as checking the status of your flight and using your airline’s online check-in provision can save a great deal of time and effort. Online check-in allows you to secure your seats and get to the airport with your boarding pass in hand – certain airlines may offer to send your e-boarding pass to your email address or your mobile device, while certain others may let you pick up your boarding pass when you arrive at the airport. When you get to the airport on the day of your departure, you can do directly to the bag drop-off points. If you are only carrying hand luggage, you can head directly to the security counter. While the time that online check-in varies from one airline to the next, most airlines will notify you via email, app alerts or text messages. A good way to stay updated about your flight’s developments is to register on the airline’s website and opt to receive SMS updates about the status of your flight.
- Pack smart
Make sure you stock up on travel essentials well in advance. This includes containers and a Ziploc bag for any liquids and gels you may want to take in your carry-on baggage. While packing, make sure to keep your laptop, camera and any other electronics handy to locate them easily. Also, keep your ID, passport, credit card and boarding pass in a secure and easily accessible part of your bag or wallet. This will save you fumbling for documentation at the airport and from panicking about whether or not you have everything you need for your upcoming flight.
- Become acquainted with the airports – both of them
Knowing where to park once you get to the airport as well as the amount of time it will take you to get from parking to the airport terminal can prove very helpful on the day of your travel. Know that airport roads are often poorly marked and routes can get crowded, leading to unplanned delays. Studying the layout of your destination airport will help you to locate the baggage pickup and shuttle departure areas quickly and more efficiently once your flight lands.
- Keep an eye on the time
Unless you’ve reached the airport way too early, you’re unlikely to have a lot of time in hand between checking in and boarding your flight. Keep checking the flight status and go directly to the gate for any last-minute revisions to the flight’s schedule. Don’t depend solely on the airport flight boards for updates as there is often a slight lag in the information displayed on these boards.
- Don’t waste time at airport security
Keep all the necessary documents you will need to check-in, in your hand before you get to the front of the line. Weigh your bags using the airport weighing scales so that you can quickly make any last-minute adjustments as required and pass through the security counter smoothly.
More about Airport Security
Airport security can be quite an ordeal, especially if you are an infrequent traveller and/or are travelling internationally for the very first time. Airport security rules are quite stringent and failing to adhere to them can lead to some very painful delays, not only for you but also for everyone else in the queue. To simplify the process, we’ve put together a list of common airport security concerns most travellers have about flying internationally.
- Are liquids and gels permitted?
Liquids and gels must preferably be carried in your check-in baggage. For hand baggage, the liquids and gels must be carried in individual containers of 100 ml or less. All these containers must be placed into one clear, quart-sized Ziploc bag. Only one such bag per passenger is allowed. Prescription medicines (including insulin, eye drops and syringes), baby formula and milk are exempt from these rules but must be declared at the security checkpoint. It is recommended that you carry medication in its original labelled bottles, to expedite the screening process. Duty free beverages and perfume may be stored in your carry-on baggage as long as they are placed in tamper-evident bags.
- Is food allowed?
The rules about the specific kinds and textures of cooked and baked goods permitted by airport security are complicated. It is preferable to only bring solid snack foods such as potato chips and carrot sticks. Single-serve packages of condiments may be carried in your Ziploc bag (refer to the point on liquids and gels). Make sure to either wrap your food securely or carry it in a spill-proof container. Beverages and other liquids purchased beyond the security gate may be carried on the plane.
- Are there any relaxations for seniors and children?
Children of 12 years and younger and senior citizens of above 75 years do not need to remove light jackets and shoes before going through the security checkpoint. If the metal detector picks up any anomalies, the security staff may ask you to take them off and go through the scanner again. Concessions may be made for children – instead pat-down checks, security officials may opt to swab children’s hands for explosives.
- Are cigarette lighters and/or e-cigarettes allowed?
Cigarette lighters may be permitted in your check-in baggage as long as you remember to drain the fluid. Torch lighters that are used for cigars are not permitted. E-cigarettes may only be stored in your carry-on baggage and not in your check-in luggage.
- What about sharp objects?
Tweezers and disposable razors and their cartridges are allowed in your carry-on baggage, as are scissors with blades that are no longer than 4 inches or less. Straight razors must be check-in in. Knitting needles are allowed but needlepoint tools with blades must be carried in your check-in baggage.
- How early should you get to the airport?
Allow yourself a minimum of three hours before departure to complete all formalities.
- What about passengers with disabilities?
Informing the staff well in time will allow them to handle your case discreetly and to take all necessary measures.
These security guidelines are applicable to the US, and similar rules apply to the European Union, Australia, Japan, Singapore, Iceland and Norway.
Now that you know what to expect during the check-in process and while going through airport security, we recommend that you spend those few minutes extra to segregate your luggage accordingly. These small steps will help you to enjoy the smoothest, most convenient travel experience and set the pace for an enjoyable trip. For even more handy travel trips as well as useful information about when, where and how to travel, do visit in.musafir.com – India’s most trusted portal for budget-friendly flights and holidays. You can also browse through affordably-priced tour packages and cheap flights to the trendiest travel destinations, both in India and overseas.