7 Things to Do for a Better Airport Experience

Do you dream of traveling to the exotic land of Morocco or spending time in a Caribbean island resort? Or just need to fly home for the holidays? But the only thing that is stopping you from booking a flight is the stories you hear about bad airport experiences.

Maybe you have a personal airport story to tell or a short tweet to share like this tweet we found on Twitter…

I have the worst experiences with airport security. I'm just an innocent boy that plays guitar.. leave me alone. - Caleb

— Alabama Capital (@alabamACapital) August 25, 2015

An airport security checkpoint is just one of the many things a traveler has to deal with when traveling. To help you have a better airport experience here are 7 things you can do the next time you fly:

1. MyTSA app

Download the MyTSA app to your phone and get real-time operating status for all U.S. airports from the FAA. According to TSA, it is a tool to use if you need
• To find out if an item is allowed in your carry-on or check baggage
• Information on ID requirements
• Liquid rules
• Tips for packing
• Tips for dressing to speed through security
• Approximate wait times at TSA security checkpoints at the airport
• And more

Here is a screenshot from MyTSA app on “Can I bring?” Our question was “bottled water” and here is the answer:

Did you know that travelers 12 and under and 75 and older are not required to remove their shoes? You can find the answer in MyTSA app.

MyTSA offers suggestions to “dressing smart for security will get you through the checkpoint faster.” They listed items that could set off a metal detector and cause delay:

• Keys
• Loose change
• Mobile electronic devices
• Heavy jewelry
• Clothing with metal buttons, snaps, or cuffs
• Metal hair barrettes or other hair decoration
• Belt buckles
• Under-wire bras

2. Airport Lounges

Airport lounges are not just for travelers with thousands of accumulated frequent flyer miles or for the rich and famous. You may be eligible to use airport lounges with your credit card. For example, the American Express Platinum card comes with complimentary airport lounge access. Find out more on their website.

If your credit cards do not have airport lounge perks you can always get a membership with Priority Pass and pay a nominal fee to use the airport lounge listed in their network.

Airport lounge can transform your airport experience. Most offer complimentary drinks, snacks, reading materials, Wi-Fi and shower facilities. And most importantly, a quiet environment to relax or work.

3. TSA Precheck and Global Entry

Hate airport security checkpoints? There is a way to skip the lines and walk through the security checkpoint without removing your shoes, belt, jacket and laptop.

Join the TSA Precheck and Global Entry.

Not everyone is eligible to join the TSA Precheck program and not all airlines offer this program. According to TSA, TSA Precheck is an expedited security screening program connecting travelers departing from the United States with smarter security and a better air travel experience. There is a fee to apply for TSA PreCheck. You can read more here.

Global Entry according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is a program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. Members enter through a designated line at select airports with Global Entry kiosks without the hassle of waiting. Find out more here.

4. Travelmath’s tools

Travelmath’s time difference, flight distance, flight time and currency converter tools will help you plan your trip before booking your flight and before leaving for the airport.

Use these links to learn more about hotels, airlines and rental cars:

Rental cars

5. Right travel gear

What you wear and bring will make a difference to your airport experience. A TSA approved messenger bag or backpack for laptops will eliminate the need to unlock your bag and take out your laptop at security checkpoints.

Wear airport friendly shoes that are easy to slip on and off. Keep it simple and comfortable. If you are afraid of being embarrassed by stains and spills, we recommend wearing dark colored clothes when flying.

6. Travel light

The easiest way to travel is to travel light without checked bags. You don’t have to worry about lost luggage or delayed flights.

Most ‘lost luggage’ problems are due to delayed flights. Because a delayed flight may cause your luggage to miss the connecting flight even though you made it.

Read What to Do if You Have Lost Luggage.

7. Do your homework

To have a better airport experience, plan ahead and find out the airline’s luggage and carry-on limits (weight and size), available restaurants and cafés in the airport for meals or drinks and check out the airport map and terminal guides. Most importantly allocate enough time to get to the airport and time to relax with a cup of tea, coffee or your favorite cocktail at the airport.

Do you have any tips to share for a better airport experience? Let us know.

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