You have a flight to take and you scramble through the airport, rushing through the check-in process and make it to the security line. The boarding has started and you need to reach your gate as soon as possible but alas the people in front of you are yet to prepare for a security check and you waste a precious moment waiting! This is a common sight for most fliers in India and across the world.
Flying can sometimes be a hassle, especially if your trip happens to be during the peak hours. Longer check-in processes, long queues at security gates and hundreds of passengers to weave in and out of to reach the boarding gate is no fun but you can avoid the stress of spending unnecessary time at check-in counters and long queues with our tips to help you save time at the airport.
Choose The Right Time to Fly
We know that ticket prices are the major factor during the purchase process but if you can look at flights that leave at off-peak timings or on off-peak days. Most business flyers tend to fly on Monday mornings so try to avoid this and instead go for flights in the middle of the week during afternoons as they tend to be less crowded than the morning/evening flights.
As a thumb rule, you should reach the airport at least 75 minutes before your departure. Why? For starters, you need buffer time to accommodate vehicle breakdowns, delays etc for your trip to the airport and then factor in waiting there once you are there. If you are traveling during peak traffic hours, do make sure that you take the route that is the fastest else leave a little bit earlier.
Screenshot Your Boarding Pass
The state of internet connectivity in India is still not great and quote frequently you find yourself waiting for your email to load while you wait at the entrance to show your tickets! Once you get your boarding pass on email or app, take a screenshot of it so that you don’t have to wait for it to load once you’re at the airport. For an airport, where security doesn’t accept e-tickets, carry hard copies of your tickets.
A lot of people think that online check-in is for those who only carry handbags and as a result never use this option. Well, irrespective of how much luggage you have or how many people you have traveling with you, online check-in does save you time, so go for it the next time you fly. You can also save time by booking your seats so that the airline personnel at the counter don’t waste time doing it for you!
Use The Kiosks
If for any reason you forgot to check in online, you can still beat the queues at the counter by using the self-service kiosks, which are now available at most Indian airports. If you are not sure where they are, ask the security personnel at the airport entry.
Know The Airport
It’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the layout of the airports you’re using so that you know exactly where you need to navigate to. You can save valuable seconds by picking the right security line, check-in counter and the fastest way to the gates. For ex. the T3 airport in Delhi is huge and if you knew that gate 32 is one of the furthest away from security clearance, you could have arrived a few minutes earlier!
Weigh Your Luggage Beforehand
Yes, this one tip can save you and others loads of time at the airport. So many times, we have seen people unpacking, throwing out items or putting them in other bags to distribute weight. This is something you should do in advance and avoid an embarrassing time at the airport. If you travel frequently, you can buy luggage weighing scales from online retailers for a very small price.
Be Ready For Security Check
At security, if you don’t want to set off the alarms then make sure you have put your laptop, mobiles, keys, loose change, jewelry, watch, ID cards and other metal objects into the tray along with any jacket/coat you’re wearing. Wear minimum metal objects, empty your pockets and put everything in your bags and keep your laptop, tablet and/or any other large electronic items handy before you reach the metal detectors, as you will have to keep them in separate trays for screening.
Unless you are a first-time traveler, you should know exactly what size luggage can fit into the overhead compartments in the flight. Do not carry large or overstuffed items as you’ll just waste time sending them with the check-in luggage later. If you are on a short trip, carry a small luggage case which can be taken with you in the cabin. Also, pack you cases neatly so that in case you need to open them for a check, it’s easier for you to find the items in question easily. Do not carry liquids over 100ml, be it water or deodorant etc in your handbag else you will be asked to dispose of it.
This should go without saying so do not carry any items that will are permitted on the plane. If you don’t know what these items are, then you can get a list on the airline’s webpage. If the security does find such items you will spend valuable time unpacking your luggage and answering some uncomfortable questions in public!
Booking your tickets online? Click here to read 10 tips to avoid getting fooled by online booking sites!