Print out Boarding Passes in Advance
With certain carriers and flights, itâ€™s possible to print out your boarding passes and check-in remotely from the comfort of your home or office personal computer.Â This doesnâ€™t always work for certain carriers, but itâ€™s worth checking out their Web sites in advance to see if they have expedited check-in options.Â This is especially true if you donâ€™t plan on carrying too much luggage.Â For power travelers who prefer compact backpacks over large suitcases, you donâ€™t need to wait in long lines to check-in your luggage.Â Instead, simply take your printed boarding pass directly to the security check-in and skip long queues at the front of the terminal.Â
Reduce Waiting Times
The only thing worse than arriving at the airport too late is arriving at the airport way too early.Â Airports are loud, expensive, and deliberately uncomfortable.Â Before departing for the airport, use sites like Flight Stats to see if your particular flight is early, on time, or delayed.Â As a redundant measure, however, you might also want to call the airline directly for extra confirmation.Â Flight Stats is an excellent resource, but even still, mistakes are possible.
Itâ€™s also not a bad idea to provide all of your flight information to your friends and family members so that they can monitor your departure and arrival.Â They can use Flight Stats to make sure that you got off the ground safely.Â They can also combine the power of Google Earth with FBOWeb to actually track the progress of your flight in real-time.Â Â
They say that you should arrive at the airport 2 hours early for international flights.Â We actually recommend arriving 3 hours before your scheduled flight time.Â You might even want to arrive a little earlier if youâ€™re bringing lots of luggage or various types of medication.Â We fully acknowledge that nothing is more boring (or expensive ) than waiting at the airport.Â We also realize that this tip is in direct contrast with the previous tip about reducing wait times.Â But in todayâ€™s world of extra security checks , long queues, traffic congestion, and unpredictability, youâ€™re better safe than sorry.Â Given a choice between missing a flight and spending a few unnecessary hours at the airport, most people would choose the former.
Realistic Wait Times
The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) provides historical wait time data for travelers who want to estimate how far ahead they should arrive at the airport.Â Keep in mind, however, that this information only represents what others endured in the past.Â The TSAâ€™s online program wonâ€™t necessarily be able to predict future traffic jams, heightened security levels, holiday travelers, equipment malfunctions, and other things that might slow down normal check-in times.Â
Always Have Your Passport, ID, and Boarding Pass HandyThis is just common sense, but itâ€™s worth mentioning.Â Always have your travel documents handy.Â Youâ€™ll have to show them at check-in, security, and the departure gate.Â Make these items easily accessible, secure, and organized.Â