Peak holiday season is approaching fast and airports all over the world are getting ready for their busiest time of the year. While some misguided fools believe ‘the holiday begins at the airport’ – 9am pints at the ready – most of us find the whole experience harrowing, and that’s putting it mildly. Indeed, hell has nothing on Heathrow; getting through the gates of Gatwick more grueling than those of Gehenna; and you can spell, erm, ‘satan’ from Stanstead. Ok, too much. There are ways, however, to mitigate the worst of it. With that in mind, here are 5 IDEAL ways to breeze through the airport this summer.
WEIGH YOUR BAGS AT HOME
There are myriad things that can cause you to become flustered at an airport and your luggage weighing over the allocated allowance is one of them. No one wants to be that person causing a scene at check-in, frantically going through their suitcase – frilly knickers going flying – ending up in so many layers of clothes that you end up looking like the Michelin man. An uncomfortable sweaty flight just isn’t worth it. Unless you’re willing to take the risk and pay the extortionate fees, then simply weigh your bags at home. ‘Nuff said.
ORGANISE YOUR BAG
A false start is the worst start, we think. Fumbling for your oyster card to get on the Piccadilly Line to Heathrow, failing to unearth your booking reference for the Gatwick Express, realising you’ve left your boarding card in your other bag or the most dreaded of all, you’ve misplaced your passport. However, all this risk can be mitigated by keeping all of your documents in an easily accessible part of your bag.
Indeed, a bag like Marry Poppin’s with everything but the kitchen sink inside is the enemy of an easy, breezy passage through the airport. So get your glide on and embrace your inner-neat-freak by using one of those clever bags with compartments, and organise it well. Get further prepared by putting all the liquids and toiletries you have in your hand luggage in a clear makeup case or plastic bag. Also, make sure your laptop, ipads and chargers can be swiftly removed from your case at security for a really smooth experience.
DRESS FOR SECURITY
The security gate can give even the most law abiding citizen the heebie-jeebies, so it’s best to be prepared sartorially. We’ve all wondered whether or not we really have to remove our belt and watch, but more often than not, you do, so wearing trousers which don’t require being kept up is a good idea. Loads of fiddly bracelets and earrings which set off the alarms are also obviously a mistake. Shoes which slip off easily are big embarrassment savers; the last thing you want to be doing is bending down to untie shoelaces, queue at your rear, when you’re not wearing that belt.
PRE-BOOK EVERYTHING YOU CAN
Seats in the plane, airport parking, transfers; simply put, pre-booking as much as you can, as far in advance as you can, saves a lot of hassle on the day. Knowing where to park and how far your space is from the terminal can seriously reduce the anxiety on your way to the airport. What’s more, knowing that there will be someone there, waiting to pick you up on the other side, just makes the flight so much more enjoyable. With everything arranged, it’s time to settle into that book you’ve been meaning to finish or film you’ve been wanting to watch, without the stress of your arrival lingering over proceedings like the adjacent passenger’s flatulence.
If you’re travelling with kids, someone elderly or disabled, it’s also a good idea to book appropriate transport in advance. For example, if you’re looking for mobility hire in Tenerife, only a handful of companies on the island offer this service, so it’s best to book before you arrive there.
GET TO THE AIRPORT IN GOOD TIME
As the summer brings longer queues and unpredictable air security wait times, the old ‘two hour’ rule can often leave only minutes to spare. The answer – get to the airport even earlier to give yourself time to buy a snack and a magazine. Being there in good time saves a lot of unnecessary stress (and more time to simply kick back in those vibrating massage chairs).