Frequent Flyers Share Their Airport ‘Life Hacks’ And Traveling Just Got Way Easier
Compliments of the readers of the subreddit /AskReddit, here are some airport life hacks to remember the next time you’re traveling via the big steel bird.
“Screenshot your boarding pass and keep your ID in your front pocket makes security as simple as possible. EVERYTHING goes in your bag before you even get in line (wallet, keys, belt, shoes).
Turn the brightness on your phone ALL THE WAY UP when presenting your boarding pass in security lines or when you board the plane.
Lock the orientation on your phone, with the QR code open, and place your phone about a foot above the scanner. Push the phone down onto the glass scanner, and then raise it back up. This is the best way to scan that QR code… those scanners can be finicky.” – thismydallasaccount
“Related point, you can profile security staff the same way.
Security screeners are human too right? On any given day one screener is going to be good and thorough, and some other screener is going to be lax, or tired that day, or distracted. You can look to see who is who, pretty much the same way that you would go to a busy grocery store and see which line is moving the fastest.
As a regular traveler, I’ll do it sometimes. If the guy at counter one is making people unpack their whole carry on, and counter two is kind of waving people through, well I don’t feel like unpacking my whole bag do I? I want the fast guy.
Problem is, bad people trying to do bad things can exploit this too right? That’s one of the most basic rules of security that doesn’t get followed is DON’T LET PEOPLE PICK.
If you have 4 screeners running 4 security lines, you want a 5th guy at the front as a greeter, directing people to the next open line.
- It actually makes the line move more quickly and smoothly.
- People can’t try to pick on the weaker line.” — jrhooo
“I learned the hard way my first time flying overseas: drink a shit ton of water while you’re waiting on your layover. Just bring an empty canteen or aluminum water bottle to fill up at fountains. I know you don’t want to get up to pee all the time, but on a long haul flight you’ll get sick, bloated, headachey, and dried out if you don’t hydrate. Drink up. You’ll thank me later.” – BowmanTheShowman
“Always take a powerbank. Some countries don’t like powerbanks, so don’t take powerbanks to countries that don’t like them.” – Anythingleftyo
“Good tip but need to make sure you know the rules about carrying them. The airline I normally fly with wants it only in your hand luggage and you are not supposed to use it during flights. As another person said some countries (such as China) are also much stricter about them and seem to not allow you to fly with them at all.” – Nixspark
“I keep a gallon-sized ziplock bag in the outside pocket of my suitcase. Just before I get in the security line, I empty my pockets of everything and put it into the bag along with jewelry. Then the ziplock goes back into the suitcase.” – BradC
During A Long Layover
“If you’ve got a long layover — especially if you’re on your own — book yourself into the lounge. The time absolutely flies by, there are drinks and food, and you can chill out on the WiFi in a comfortable seat. Most places will give you three hours, but I’ve never been anywhere that actually checks (unless you’re really taking the piss) and it costs about £25, but it makes an arduous journey a lot less of a pain in the ass.” – Portarossa
“Seriously: Join. The. Lounge. Either annually (if you fly frequently) or buy a single-day pass. Check your credit card, you may already have a membership.
Lounges have open bars (yay), better wifi, and decent seats & toilets. But the best advantage, by far, is that airlines keep their Ninja customer service people in the lounge. These are the folks that can you the last seat on the last flight, even if it’s in a higher class. These are the folks who can get you a hotel for the night and a voucher for a decent meal.
My wife always questioned my lounge membership, saying that we could’ve used those miles for travel. Then we took a trip to California and everything went wrong. “To the Lounge!” And everything was just fixed.” – bladel
“If it takes more than twenty minutes for you to get your bag when you fly with Delta you can get 2500 Skymiles by putting in a request here: ” – MarkLukeAlexander
“Same. Got about 20k miles from this alone in 2017. Check the arrival boards for the exact time your plane arrived, add 20 mins to that and that’s the deadline. I pre-fill out the form while I wait for my bag to come down the belt ramp.” – chortle3
Just Good Travel Advice
“Buy a budget round trip to Chicago? New York? Be super certain you understand which airport you’re departing from. It’s not always the same one you landed at.” – qatest
“Pilot here, so that kinda counts. Here’s some insider tips:
1) This website lists the airport and airline lounge wifi passwords for most airports around the world. Enjoy the free wifi
2) There are 2 kinds of bags: those that get destroyed in cargo bins, and those that destroy other bags in cargo bins. Get the second kind of bag. Buy an aluminum-frame Luggage Works Stealth bag, or a Travel Pro. It’s what all crewmembers use for a reason.
3) The flight attendants have heard every single attempt from passengers to lie and cajole their way into first class. If you want better treatment and maybe an upgrade, bring a box full of truffles or chocolates, treat them like people, and be very nice to them. If there is an opening in a nicer seat, they just might hook it up.” – PlaneShenaniganz
“I’m 6’9” tall (206cm), so flying is… fun. I can nearly always get a free upgrade to an exit row or “economy plus” seat from the gate agent once they see how tall I am, but sometimes those seats are taken. Is there even a remote chance I could get a first class upgrade if anything is available, assuming of course I’m really polite (which I am anyway)? I’ve never asked because first class has always seemed like this elite perk that they wouldn’t give a free upgrade for.” – icefall5
“If you fly a lot, get a rewards credit card with that airline. After flying frequently for work for a couple years, I now have platinum memberships with different airlines. Which means I get free checked bags, priority boarding, access to the lounge in airports that has free food and booze, and best of all free upgrades to first class if there are open seats. Not to mention all the free flights I’ve gotten from racking up points on the card. My company reimburses my flights, so I charge them to the card but get to keep all the points for personal use.” –BPSteve
“After traveling to the same cities multiple times, I make sure to know what each airport has to offer in case I have extra time there. For instance, Portland has a great little free theater with local short films. Many airports have massage places. Midway has a free use yoga studio. Sitting around being bored is for suckers.” — AbeVgoda
“If you have a lot of time to kill, find the area in baggage claim where pets are reunited with their owners. It’s a blast watching those dogs get out of their carriers, and they all behave differently.” – Scrappy_Larue
“If you have a problem with a flight, the person working at the counter is both the one person who can help you and the one person who was in no way responsible for causing your problem. Treat them like your salvation, and don’t let loose on them the anger you have for the airline. If you’re having a bad day, there’s a good chance they’ve dealt with 300 people who are also having the same bad day. If they look like shit, offer to get them a coffee.
Aviation is an incredibly complex system with a million moving parts and dozens of interrelated processes that are all difficult to predict, and which require people from a half dozen specialties to understand their bit and communicate it with all the others, but which all get distilled in to “your flight is thirty minutes late, reason: late flight”. Roll with it. You probably won’t get a satisfying reason why things are late, and time estimates come with huge error bars and lots of guestimates.
On a related note, none of the employees get to go home until you do. They’re not dragging their feet, it just feels that way because you’re in a hurry.
Bring ear plugs if sleeping or spending a night are a possibility. Airport PAs are constant and loud, and they seem doubly loud late at night without the background noise of crowds.” – Honorary Canadian
“If you have a lot of time to kill, most airport pharmacies will contain a preparation of cough syrup that only contains DXM as an active ingredient. Drink a bottle of this before your flight and you will have a very fun flight.
Edit: Since everybody is interested I will elaborate. After you check in past TSA, look for any store that looks like it may sell medicine. You can also buy diphenhydramine [benadryl] which will keep you from throwing up. As long as you don’t drink the syrup on an empty stomach you shouldn’t be too sick.
The syrup can be mixed, but it will taint anything it touches with disgustingness. What I do personally is cover my tongue with soda, and take a big gulp of syrup. If you swallow quickly, you will not taste the syrup as much.” – DasWalross
Check out the rest of the airport life hack suggestions here.